Paraglider’s charity challenge
- Credit: supplied
A PARAGLIDING enthusiast from Nailsea has become the first person to glide between New Zealand’s north and south islands.
Matt Stanford took on the challenge of crossing the Cook Strait to raise money for World Vision. The 29-year-old learnt to fly paragliders in 2009, and has since become national champion twice in different classes in New Zealand, where he is currently living.
A former Nailsea School pupil, Matt subsequently qualified as a teacher and taught at Wrington Primary School before travelling to teach in a Himalayan Leprosy hospital and fly the Himalayan mountain range.
Matt spent 13 months preparing to take on the 30km Cook Strait challenge, which he completed on March 2 by jumping from a helicopter hovering at 13,000ft.
He said: “I wanted to cross Cook Strait as it had never been done before despite a few attempts.
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“When we fly our goal is often to cover distance, we call this flying cross country.
“To fly between the islands could be considered the ultimate cross country - a paraglider has no engine and doesnt perform that well on long open glides, especially not over open water and rough seas.”
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By completing the challenge, Matt hopes to raise much-needed funds for World Vision to support the work it carries out with impoverished children.
To sponsor Matt visit www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/cookstrait