Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hello Friends!! WingEnvy Headquarters is BACK on the Central Coast! We will be updating the website soon to reflect that...but as of now we are not offering lessons in Lake Elsinore.

WingEnvy is also offering discounts at www.SkydivePismoBeach.com available only to our friends, let us know if you're interested in skydiving! That's all for now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Paraglide, Speedride, Speedfly, and more... 2011

Hi All, Sorry it's been so LONG since I've updated the blog. Lots of great, and NEW things coming to WingEnvy. First, we've moved our headquarters!! Our central location is now in Lake Elsinore, CA. Lake Elsinore offers some great training sites, and some of the best XC flying in Calfifornia, and beyond for that matter. We are stoked to be here.

But don't worry, we are still offering courses in SLO county, and we can get you set up in Monterey too!!

ALSO new, will be SPEEDFLYING!! Yes, it's taking over the world, and now is the time to learn. Our course will cover launching, ground handling, and weather. We hear from lots of our skydiving friends that they want to get into this sport. And while jumpers with lots of canopy time will pick it up quickly, and do possess many of the skills necessary to fly speed wings, there is still a saftey gap between what you learn skydiving and flying speed wings. We want to keep all our friends safe, so we will be offering courses for new canopy/glider pilots who want to start in this discipline, AND CROSS over lessons for our skydiver friends. Check back in February for course times!!!

We CURRENTLY offer a full line of SpeedFlying and SpeedFlying wings, and also offer the hottest new addition to the sport, SpeedGlider!! Of course as always, we also offer all paragliding equipment!

It's getting harder to find excuses NOT to get in the sky:) Happy New Year ALL!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kinsley ThomasWong Accident, How you Can Help

Kinsley ThomasWong, (many of you know him as Kinsley Wong) was involved in a very serious kiteboarding accident recently. Kinsley has always been very involved in advancing the sport of paragliding, especially in the early days with his forum on Big Air Paragliding. He was one of the first guys I met in the sport when I started 13 years ago, and has been a friend ever since. He's continuted to support the paragliding community even now with his on-line store and school. If you've met him, you know he's one of the happiest most optimistic guys around, and he always has a smile for you when you show up to fly, whether you're new or experienced. Below is a copy of a letter from paraglider pilot Marina Chang, who is setting up an effort to help Kinsley and his wife Jamie, please check it and, and check out the website mentioned in the letter for more information. Thanks everyone!!

Here's some video I took a couple of weeks ago while flying over Kinsley at Shell Beach, Ca


For those who have not been informed, Kinsley ThomasWong of Xtreme Big Air was involved in a kiteboarding incident in San Luis Obispo County, CA, on July 15, 2010, resulting in trauma to his head and spine. While his prognosis is uncertain, the medical costs and potential future care costs are immense.

To be proactive on behalf of the ThomsWong family, several friends have taken the initiative to reach out to the kiteboarding and paragliding communities for help. Though Kinsley has insurance, it is 30% co-pay until a certain amount paid is reached. Meanwhile the costs for the medevac, ICU, surgeries and upcoming extended-stay treatment in the spine care recovery unit in Santa Clara have and will continue to be been astronomical. Also, some costs of care and recovery simply won’t be covered by insurance, while long-term care needs could be a distinct possibility.

Many of us have been graced by Kinsley's selflessness, kiteboard/paraglide advocacy, passion for the ocean/air, and unique jovial spirit.

In particular, the kiteboarding and paragliding communities are considered Kinsley’s extended family. At the same time, we all realize that while we fly or kite solo, kiting and paragliding is a community sport where we have all likely been helped out of a jam by another at some time. Kinsley has elevated so many lives and has promoted both sports passionately, including the annual KiteXpo (Expo) in Pismo Beach. We would like to give back and hope you will join us in our outreach effort by donating to his health and recovery costs. Please also help us spread the word of this effort through your own networks.

We have created a website dedicated to Kinsley’s progress. http://kinsleydonation.weebly.com/index.html. Here, we will keep you all posted on Kinsley’s recovery progress on the Kinsley Condition Log and Blog links on the website’s menu. You can make comments on the blog link, or, post your own thoughts, photos, stories and electronic greetings (these are great to show Kinsley!) on a new facebook page we created just for this purpose (Friends of Kinsley ThomasWong). Under the “what you can do tab” on the website, you will find information on how you can help support Kinsley and Jamie through the Kinsley Thomas Wong Donation Fund.

Contributions can be made by check, paypal or directly to Bank of America. Unfortunately, donations to one individual for any philanthropic purpose, such as illness, are not tax deductable. But, donations are considered gifts and are not taxable income to the beneficiary. Additionally, unless the donation is specified ‘anonymous,’ at some point we will acknowledge those that contributed individually or through businesses (no amounts specified). All other information is confidential.

Donation checks can deposited in any Bank of America branch for the Kinsley ThomasWong Donation Fund.

If you want to send a check by mail, please make checks payable to Kinsley ThomasWong Donation and send to:
Melinda Thomas
26 El Viento
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Thank you all for your kindness and support.

All our best,

Marina Chang, Steve Davies & Kipley Lytel

Marina Chang, Publisher

The Kiteboarder Magazine | The Ring Media

Monday, June 7, 2010

National Hanggliding and Paragliding Day

So, the first National Hanggliding and Paragliding Day was held over Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday May 29th. According to USHPA (United States Hanggliding and Paragliding Assosication), the date was perfect because it marks the beginning the of the flying season for the US.

Well, I'm not sure this time of year means the same for us on the Central Coast of California, as it does for other free flight sites around the US. I know there are plenty of spots that normally can only fly during the summer, and early fall months. We are VERY lucky here though, we can fly ALL year!! In fact, this is actually our low season relatively speaking, many of our sites are fogged in, and the mountains rarely work this time of year. That's not to say we don't get plenty of flying still, it's just not a BIG season opener this time of year.

With that being said, it's understandable why not many local pilots were really excited about celebrating the first ever national day for our sport. Especially with a forecast that suggested getting other things done would be a better use of time.

The core group still went for it! Jack Gristanti and I were set up to fly at Cayucos on May 29th, while some visiting paraglider pilots decided not to fly (good choice since they were fairly new pilots). Adam Dobbs joined us on top with his Hangglider. There were HUGE white caps forming on the water from the NW, while the winds at the top of the hill were still lightly offshore. There were more bugs swarming around at the top then I have ever seen there, and red clouds of lady bugs swirling around. They must have been attracted to Adam's hangglider bag, because several ladybug couples (and some threesomes, as pictured) were celebrating spring time. At least there was entertainment while we were parawaiting.

The flag at the top was showing a light NE wind, and I felt gusts coming from the SE, so I launched off the back, and swoop turned downwind to the beach. I arrived at the beach, about 10ft over, then hit the strong convergence and immediately shot up 100ft. With the size of the white caps, I felt it was appropriate to escape the block quickly and land. Jack launched shortly after me with a similar flight, and luckily didnt' get stuck up in the blockvergence. Adam launched his hangglider later, and surfed the block for a bit, but soon it was even too strong for him and he landed before it picked up any more.

SOOOOoooo, the flying wasn't great, but we HAD to represent our local club SLOSA (San Luis Obispo Soaring Association)and get in the air on the first National Hanggliding and Paragliding day, just for the history of it. Stoked to say both Hang and Paragliders were represented:)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cuesta Ridge XC Paragliding

Mike Harris, Jack Grisanti, Tim O'Neill and I got to Cuesta Ridge in San Luis Obispo at around 10:15 to do some cross country paragliding. Making it to Mike Wilson's (Creston area) was the goal for the day. Tim and I launched our first flight around 10:30 into very smooth lifty air, though not a lot of sun showing through. Tim got high first and headed back towards Santa Margarita. I was getting high over launch as he was landing by the santa margarita airport. With the knowledge there was no lift for Tim, I decided to take a different route and went south of Launch towards East Cuesta. I got there at ridge height, but eventually climbed to base (probably around 4,000 at that point). In the wispies, I turned over the back (for a short while I couldn't really see anything, I must have had my eyes closed or something). I went on glide across the valley trying to connect with the hills to the east, but had to land on the other side of pozo rd. Jack came and picked us up.

TRY 2. We went for more, Tim set up his paraglider and was about to launch as we heard a shout, apparently John Hesch (hangglider pilot) had just launched, from where he parked on the road maybe? Anyway, Tim got in the air with him, and they climbed quickly.

I launched a little while after, and found lots of wind. I wasn't that motivated to go XC because I was parked in wind, but Tim said the wind was less at 3,500, and that he was going over the back again. Jack offered to retrieve again, so there went Tim, taking a similar route to his morning flight. I was low at that point, so I had to tank up for awhile. I finally caught a boomer, and with the strong wind, that thermal took me from in front of launch, all the way over east cuesta, I was turning the whole way. Didn't get to cloud base until East Cuesta, base was much higher this time (Tim reported base at 6000, just like John H reported).

Climbing to cloud base over the 101 freeway north of San Luis Obispo

Once I reached cloud base at East Cuesta, I was still drifiting pretty fast in the wind, so I immediately turned down wind over the back. Unfortunatley, I had nothing but sink when I went over this time, and came very low, within about 100ft of landing just on the other side of east cuesta. I found a small leeside thermal, the lift was violent at best, but I was motivated to try an catch up with Tim.

Almost sinking out

After several turns, and countless small collapses and one medium frontal, the core smoothed out, and was climbing steadily towards cloud base again. That climb lasted all the way across the valley into the next hills, these things were drifting fast!

After low save, looking back towards East Cuesta

I had not seen Tim since he left west Cuesta, and he reported that he would be landing soon, 7 miles short of Mike Wilson's (he was a good little xc pilot, and came prepared with GPS, and coordinates to follow, he'll have to post the exact locations of his flight). At that point, I was climbing just north of Lake Santa Margarita (I had taken a more southern route than Tim), and since I'm not really familiar with the area, I was trying to have Tim and Jack tell me over the radio which way to go to end up where Tim was...quite a comedy since neither one could see me, or tell exactly where I was. I climbed as high as I could, then turned back into the hills heading more North this time.

Heading Inland

As it turned out, neither Tim nor myself could pick up any more thermals in the small hills. It would only have been 1 or 2 more climbs to base to make it to Mikes, then the Valley beyond. There was lift, but the increasing winds were just making it disorganized.

We both landed near Park Hill Road, but never saw each other during the flight. Tim had made it to a landing area a little further along the road than where I ended up, and scored a ride for us back to 58 (good thing, because we both thought we were landing on 58). Wind was a little gusty on the ground, getting up to 15 or more at times. Made for an exciting landing for me...and I got it on video:)

Jack was nice enough to chase us around, even though we were giving him bad directions. Thanks Jack.

It wasn't a very far flight (though it felt far at the time), just new, over territory we hadn't been before. I find it very exciting to fly over new terrain, especially when I don't really know where I am, or where I headed, just going for it.

I think if we had waited another 40 or so minutes instead of launching the first time, we would have been able take advantage of the lifting cloudbase, and lighter winds, and we probably could have gone much further. But you just never know, so I'm STOKED with what we got. Beautiful day!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strong Winds on the Central Coast

The wind has been CRANKIN' lately. The forecast for the last few days has been calling for gusts of up to 30mph or more. Not the best conditions for paragliding. BUT, we have still been managing to get some flying in!

Today and yesterday there was a group of really cool women that had all gone to college together at Syracuse in NY. They were reuniting for the weekend in San Luis Obispo. They found WingEnvy Paragliding on the Madonna Inn's website, and decided to come try flying. Honestly, with the wind forecasts, I told them it didn't look likely that we'd get in the air, but we could go check it out.

Both yesterday and today we showed up early at Cayucos. Yesterday it was slightly more wind early, so I flew my paraglider solo for a bit to test the air, then was able to get one tandem flight in. The wind was fairly strong for that flight, so we rescheduled the rest of the group for today. Again, it wasn't looking great, but we headed over there slightly before 9 am. As it turns out, it was AWESOME!! WE got 2 more tandem paragliding flights off of cayucos, landing on the beach for both. What a fun group to have as passengers. And, BIG thanks to Mike Harris for driving us up in his car, and driving my car back down.

Our timing could not have been better, just after our guest passengers headed off to celebrate over breakfast, the wind came blasting through. Love doing tandems...when the weather cooperates!

As a side note, if you're visiting our area, and looking for a place to stay, consider the Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo, it's a unique, beautiful, and fun place to stay.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Paragliding in May on the Central Coast

It's been a great month so far! Yeah, lots of wind, lots of high temps, but still getting in the air!

Last week visiting pilot Jesse Boyd had his first high flight at Cayucos, a beautiful flight, along with local student Steve Johnson. Then student pilot Danny Heatherwick came out the next day with local Joshua Gwiazda, and visiting friend Bruce Bundy, those guys had like 5 awesome flights from Cayucos!

Monday I scored some pre-frontal paragliding magic, and flew from the main hill, to Hugh's Hill, to the Cayucos Pier, most of the time above 800 ft. Not bad for May.

Tuesday Jack and I scored a post frontal, pre fog flight at Cayucos, skimming along the edges of the fog bank. Didn't have my camera for that, but it was unreal imagery.

Wednesday Jack Grisanti and I played with the block. It was blowing about 20-25 on the water, and about 10 onshore, a big blockvergence was setting up. After working over highway 101 for awhile low, I finally heard that comforting smooth tone on my vario, I was going up, up, and away. I boated around over southern Cayucos for about an hour, then got low to surf the houses for a bit.

It didn't stop that day, I went back up and watched the hanggliders launch into beautiful air. The wind had come through by then, and those guys had a blast! So, it really has been a fun month here. Actually, so far, it's been a stellar paragliding year on the Central Coast of California!!

Bill Launching

Keith Emminger setting up to high five Sean Abellena (right corner)