"Practice and learn from mistakes." - Don Bodill
Mina: Do you remember your first paragliding flight? Where was it?
Don: My first Paragliding flight was towing on an airfield near Cirencester. My first hill flight was at Man tor in Darbyshire on my Santana.
Mina: When did you start paragliding? When did you start training for competitions?
Don: I did a conversion from parachutes and started flying Paragliders in 2000 before the 2nd World Championships in Slovenia. Before this I had been flying parascending accuracy on a Blue and Yellow Harley since 1987. I first tried for a place in the UK Team in 1999 for the 2000 World Championships in the UK, and have been on the team 8 times now since my first time in 2005 in Serbia.
Mina: Where did your love for paragliding come from? At which point did you know it was something you wanted to pursue?
Don: When I first started the sport in 1987 I thought this will be something exciting and fun to do until I get good at it, and I'm still trying.
Mina: How much time on average do you spend flying?
Don: With the Weather in the UK I spend a lot of time parawaiting. I fly as often as weather permits.
Mina: You are one of the best in your country. What is your training method for success? What can you recommend to people who are just starting out?
Don: Practice and learn from mistakes. If you could remember all the mistakes you have made and all you have learnt at the same time, that would be really useful!
Mina: What do you do when you're not flying?
Don: I have spent the last couple of months helping my mate chop down a huge oak tree (showing my Canadian roots), a lot of it is now in my back garden being chopped for fire wood. I like spending time outdoors, drinking beer with friends and listening to rock music.
Mina: Would you encourage your children to try paragliding and support them if they showed interest?
Don: Yes, I would encourage them to fly if they wanted to try it. My step-daughter Taz Spence (UK Team Leader) has been undergoing her paragliding training with Beyond Extreme for a few years now. I take her flying when it is flyable and I am off work.
Mina: What are your 3 favorite flying sites in the world?
Don: Beskdy mountains- Czech Republic, Pernik- Bulgaria, Niska banja- Serbia
Mina: What are your 3 favorite flying sites in your country?
Don: Long Mynd and Long Mountain (Both in Wales) and also a local site to me Bridlington.
Mina: Name 3 of your paragliding heroes:
Don: Jaka Gorenc and Mark Dann
Mina: Biggest challenge so far?
Don: The thing that has taken the most willpower has been launching in Slovenia with a 2 m/s tail wind.
Mina: The most beautiful thing about flying?
Don: Finding yourself in the right bit of sky just over the pad to bring your foot down correctly onto it.
Mina: What are your goals for the future?
Don: To put myself in the right place over the pad and bring my foot down nicely onto it.
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