To the members of the Hawaii Paragliding Association: I was invited to visit your lovely island by Paul (Motorhead). So many thoughts went through my head in the first few seconds of that phone conversation. A person I knew. A place to stay. Transportation. What more could a paraglider pilot ask for? It took all of three additional seconds to tell Paul, “I’m in!”
It wasn’t long before I began to meet and fly with folks like Mad Dog, Joey, Tom, Pete, JK, Mike, and a host of others. I was reacquainted with Alex. I visited with Quentin. (Please, God, I hope I got the names right.) I was invited into your homes and introduced to wives, families, friends, and significant others. Every single person that I met welcomed me in the spirit of Aloha. In your group, I found people who were accepting and giving. I found people who smiled and enjoyed life. I found people who willingly shared whatever they had, be it beverage or wisdom, without expectation of return. What I found on Oahu was far more valuable than just flying. I found community, and I found family.
I have long struggled with the question of why we have so much passion for this sport, and the answer always comes back in some variation of this form: flying is like a PayDay candy bar. Yes, it comes in an appealing wrapper, but what makes it truly irresistible is that nutty goodness inside. That’s family. And you people have it.
Fly high. Fly safe.
Mahalo, and aloha.