Paragliding Cook Strait

Humankind has sought conquests since the dawn of time. Mainly for the glory, but also for the personal satisfaction that comes with achieving a major goal.

Recognised as a very tricky waterway to cross, Cook Strait has been a magnet for people driven to achieve ‘firsts’. We recently looked at the brave Cook Strait swimmers, and others who have made the crossing by kayak and windsurfer. Two guys even drove their (modified) Toyota van across

Recently another name joined the ranks of unique Cook Strait crossings, but this time it didn’t involve getting wet. 

Proving that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, on 3 March 2013 ex-pat Brit Matt Stanford traversed Cook Strait at 12,500 feet in his paraglider. 

With the help of a helicopter, Matt ascended above Tory Channel then alighted, relying on his paraglider to carry him the 30km to Otereanga Bay on the southern tip of the North Island. The trip took 40 minutes, at times reaching speeds of 65km/h.  He touched down and into the waiting arms of partner Donna Meikle.

A leap of faith maybe, but Matt had spent the previous 14 months and considerable funds making sure this flight would not be his last. 

For those traveling by ferry that day, Matt’s presence high above them would have been a fantastic sight, adding to what is already an amazing journey across one of the great waterways of the world.

There are still plenty of ‘firsts’ waiting to be attempted over, on and possibly even under Cook Strait. With any luck, your next Cook Strait crossing might have you in the box seat to witness the next one.

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