Paragliding in Oludeniz

On arrival into Oludeniz, one of the first thing we noticed were the 15 to 20 paragliders soaring about us, screams echoing down.
Every hour there were more and more, up to 20 at a time, landing right beside the beach, on the Main Street.
As soon as we walked into town we were targeted by the owner of Pegus Paragliding company, who was undeniable very pissed!
This put us off a bit, but we were tempted all the same, with it costing only 150TL, the equilavent of €50.
Later on in the day, a paragliders from Easy Riders, another company, approached us carrying his 2 year old daughter. This was his ploy, “If she can do it, so can you!” And showed us photos of her paragliding with her teddybear. It worked!
The following morning before our boat trip we booked in to take our ‘flight’ at 4.20pm.
All day I tried not to think about it, trying not to list all the potential problems that could occur, different ways we could crash, different ways I could fall out. I was excited, but more petrified, the fear is what made me want to do it, it’s something I have NEVER done, and never thought of doing. But Oludeniz is famous for it’s paragliding, people coming from all over the world to do it, so I didn’t want to miss out!
As the boat anchored up on Oludeniz Beach, there stood Easy Riders instructors with their minivan ready to take us up…
I had no where to run, no way to back out now. One minute we were on the boat next minute we were in a packed out minivan, erratically driving up a 2000 metre mountain.
And I was going to jump off… SHIT SHIT SHIT.
Throughout the 25 minute drive, between squealing at the speeding van and the steepness of the cliff edge which seemed too close, I harassed the instructors, asking every question in the book.

“Can I choose my instructor?” (I wanted the most experienced)
“Have you ever crashed?”
“Does the paraglider have any holes in it?”
“Are you nervous?”
“Have you had anything to drink today?”
“Does the extra parachute work?”

Once the van pulled up on the top of the mountain, I stepped out of the van. My legs nearly collapsing as I looked off the paved slope, 2000 metres high.
I had no time I back out, the jumpsuit was swiftly put onto me, the helmet strapped on, and before I knew it Dan was happily yelling “See you at the bottom!!” As he ran and jumped up, up, up into the air.
The instructor clipped himself onto me.
“Now run! Don’t sit down till I tell you!”
He pushed me, and I remember frantically looking round… Shit shit, how can I get out.
The paraglider lifted up above us, and as I took my wimpy steps forwards, off the cliff, the paraglider lifted us up, up up, not allowing any free falling, just a smooth glide up.
“Milly, don’t panic, but you are sitting in your seat incorrectly.”
“Okay”… I start to panic…. I’m going to fall, I’m done, it’s over…
“Now lift up your bum and lean back.”
“Okay…”
As I lean back I realise I am cacooned, nestled in a hammock like seat, peacefully gliding 2000 metres up.
Dans paraglider comes in beside us and we wave at each other, him a bit more relaxed than me, peering down, letting go if his straps, looking round… He’s SO relaxed!
I’m told by my instructor to relax, to let go of the straps and put up arms out and pretend I’m flying. I poke my hands out. He encourages me again, to try… I attempt to… Putting them out… Then quickly grabbing on again…
Throughout the flight he uses his GoPro camera to take some photos and a few recordings, one of me steering the paraglider, which is remarkably easy to control. I begin to ease up the longer we glide.
He points to Dans paraglider as he’s doing acrobats above Oludeniz beach, whirling round vertically.
If he can do it so can I.
I ask my instructor, Bülent Tutgun if we can do one spin.
A nervous laugh erupts from my mouth as my stomach is turned inside out. Again Again!!!
But it’s too late… We are coming down to land… Fast.
The trip down takes 30-40 minutes.

He tells me to stand when he says so, as we very quickly approach the footpath beside the beach.
NOW
My jellies slap the ground surging ground shock up my legs and I collapse onto my knees. Possibly the worst landing I’ve seen out of everyone in watched over the past two days… Ha…
A smile is etched on my face for the next two hours, proudness that I did it, excitement at the feelings, and relief at surviving!
The guys that me and Dan flew with were great.
Dans instructor was Śenol Arat .

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