When you think of paragliding, what comes to mind? For me (a total noob who is just getting back in the sport), paragliding symbolizes pure flight and freedom. I have learned just in the small amount of time I have been immersed in it that it is about so much more; it is about seeing the world from a new perspective, pushing your limits and being a part of a unique community. It requires patience, knowledge of your gear, weather and terrain and confidence in yourself.
Like many sports I have participated in, it is a very independent sport with a thriving community. What I love about the action sports community are the people I meet during my travels, which is why I became so intrigued by BStoked. BStoked, originally geared towards kitesurfers, recently added paragliding to its community.
I had the opportunity to speak to Nuno of BStoked, who stated that they are essentially “a platform that enables independent tour organizers, schools and experienced local pilots to host sports experiences, which travelers can book directly from them.” Think AirBnB for paragliders. Continue reading to learn more about Nuno and BStoked’s mission and ultimate goals.
Check out the website: paragliding.bstoked.net
We’d love to learn more about you! Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into paragliding?
Sure! I’m Portuguese, and I’ve been into sports since I was a kid; this one is more than just that. It’s a way of living. I started flying a long time ago, following the footsteps of my father who’s always been into air sports: skydiving and then paragliding. My brothers and I were hooked since the beginning and when we reached the legal age to start flying (16) we just didn’t hesitate. This has been my passion since then.
What about paragliding keeps you coming back to the sport?
The challenge to go further, higher, faster. The possibility to see the world from a different perspective. The feeling you get whenever you take to the sky, is indescribable. This is truly the simplest, easiest way to fly. You literally become a bird!
What are some of your most memorable paragliding flights and achievements in the sport?
There are too many breath-taking moments up there, but every time you reach cloudbase, or share a thermal with big birds, or when you go far with your friends, or even when you land out in some remote place and get to tell the story to the locals when they see you coming from the sky… this is priceless.
About my achievements, I’ve set several long distance records. On my biggest flight I flew 315 km on a 7 hour ride. I’ve conquered many podiums on competitions: I was Portuguese Champion 2 times, I attend World Cups on a regular basis and I’ve ranked top 10 at the European Championship back in 2012.
Where are some of your favorite paragliding spots and why?
On my trips around the world I have flown in amazing locations. The beauty of the places but also the perfect conditions for paragliding I found in several spots along the Alps like St. André in Southern France, Valle de Bravo in Mexico, Roldanillo in Colombia, Tolmin in Slovenia, or Pokhara in Nepal, just to name a few. But also my home town, where I can cruise high in the sky above the endless flatlands, while crossing the border and going deep into Spain.
How do you want to inspire other people to take flight and get involved in paragliding?
With paragliding you learn to know yourself, to face your fears, and deal with your limitations, but you also develop your skills and it helps you to overcome all these. It’s a mental game that takes you way beyond your earthly dimension. And it’s exciting and fun too!
Can you tell us a bit about your company BStoked?
We are a mixed team from several countries: Slovenia, Germany and Portugal. Bstoked was initially founded by Aaron, Martin, Guilherme and Nejc out of their passion for kitesurfing and traveling. Recently they teamed up with me and together we expanded into paragliding. We put all our energy in this platform and hope to share the stoke with everyone.
What inspired the creation of BStoked?
Organizing action sports travel can be a hassle: it’s time-consuming, risky and you are likely to spend more than you ought to. Bstoked therefore developed a platform that can match your personal preferences with listed trips and services, independent data about spot conditions (e.g. wind, weather, user ratings and flights). In other words, you can keep your independent travel ways but skip the daunting task of cross-checking all the necessary information for planning such a trip. Bstoked does it all for you!
Hosts can list complete trips such as camps and cruises or specialized services such as accommodation, guidance, gear rental, lessons, and more. Listings are automatically enhanced with independent sports and travel data, media content, user reviews, and easy access to third-party services such as flight information and insurance. This adds value to the user generated offers.
We make sure that only trustworthy and dedicated hosts and suppliers can offer services on our platform. With our best prices guarantee we save you the time to look elsewhere.
What are your goals with BStoked?
Bstoked is at its core a platform that enables independent tour organizers, schools and experienced local pilots to host sports experiences, which travelers can book directly from them. Selected hosts – we call them buddies – can thus make money by sharing local spot knowledge and offering sports experiences on spots they know best.
All travellers who are in for authentic sports adventures on stunning spots, which can’t be found elsewhere online, Bstoked makes it easy for them to find and book action sports experiences by minimizing planning, risks and costs while optimising the overall sports and travel experience.
Where are some spots you would like to see BStoked feature?
We would like to feature all the nicest places on Earth. We always encourage our partners to tell what’s so special about their place that they would like to share with other fellow pilots. Would love to cover from Mongolia, to Namibia, from Chile to the Alaska, Hawaii to Pakistan as for sure there are amazing hidden spots out there that the local guys know quite well and have their own special charm.
How do you see BStoked being beneficial to the paragliding community?
Bstoked builds a community from paragliders for paragliders. Essentially it’s the Bstoked community that runs the “show”. Paragliding experiences are user generated and the Bstoked community decides, which offers are the best and will thus be more visible to users. We encourage users to provide independent reviews of experienced trips and to share paragliding and travel advice with the community. We hope you will get involved and help us build a worldwide database of reviews and spot ratings – based on your actual experiences!
Bstoked users can also connect with other paragliders in order to plan or share paragliding trips. This can help to cut costs and to get together a group of like minded pilots for a paragliding adventure.
How do you see BStoked inspiring people to get involved in paragliding?
Unlike other platforms we are specialized in paragliding, and offer specific activities related to it, covering the whole world and several kinds of offers, from basic courses to advanced guiding, meaning our partners are the best contact for anyone who travels to their flying areas. This allows for a great, truly unique experience, giving the opportunity for a cultural immersion on the places we feature, quite different from the standard tourist packages that you may find in most “adventures portals” but are merely a single experience including a selfie on a nice background.
How do you see BStoked as beneficial to fostering relationships and learning about other cultures?
From my experience I’ve been to a lot of stunning paragliding spots around the world. Some places stayed in my mind and I have returned back for a more relaxed trip, and some others, I have discovered on my own on different occasions. But wherever I go – it’s always so much more fun if you’re flying with someone with profound local knowledge. That’s what it’s all about at Bstoked: discover incredible spots around the globe with local-savvy guides. There is so much to discover – be it on a tour, in a camp – or rather independent in a stunning specialized accommodation. You may even join an expedition to places where no glider ever flew before! You’ll find everything on Bstoked – everything except boring touristy packages on crowded spots.
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