- Nationality: United States
- Date of birth: 21. Apr. 1972
- Profession: Professional Paragliding pilot and Owner/ CEO Offshore Odysseys
- Supporter: Bruce Marks
- Glider: Niviuk Klimber
- Website: www.cloudbasemayhem.com
- Sponsors: Patagonia, Delorme, Porcher Sport, Salewa, Niviuk, Patagonia Provisions, Sup'Air, Garmin, Klymit, US Paragliding team, Gu Energy
- Gavin McClurg is the adventurer's adventurer. He spent over a decade sailing around the world – and may be the only person ever to learn to paraglide while living on a boat. He's a boat captain, expedition leader, climber, former ski-racer but it's his skill under a wing that's his true strength. Combined, his backcountry adventure and flying skills make him a serious athlete to watch. In 2016, he completed the Alaskan Traverse, one of the most epic adventures he's ever undertaken. Will he improve on his 2015 8th place finish?
- When and why did you begin paragliding?
I began paragliding in 2006 after avoiding it for over a decade. When I learned that they could be used to launch somewhere and you could TRAVEL somewhere else...I was hooked. I have flown all over the world- the Atlas, Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and all over Northern America. I moved to Sun Valley in 2012 to pursue big mountain, big air flying and still feel like every flight is magic.
- Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.
Yes. 1st Place US Nationals, 2016, Owens Valley. 2nd place Pre-Worlds, Colombia 2014.
- What is your mountaineering experience?
I was a guide/instructor for Outward Bound in the Northwest of the United States for several years where I instructed rock climbing and raft/ Kayak guiding. I have mountaineered in the Andes (Bolivia and Peru), run many class 5-6 rivers in North and Central America and have done vol-biv expeditions across the Canadian Rockies ("The Rockies Traverse" in 2014 with Will Gadd, a Red Bull Production), the Sierra Mountains of California ("Surfing the Sierras"), the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and Wyoming ("500 Miles to Nowhere") and recently completed a full paragliding/ foot traverse of the Alaska Range from east to west, nearly 800 kilometers (37 days to complete), which was documented by Red Bull for their Explorers Series.
- What is your paragliding experience?
I have competed in several PWC events, won US nationals in 2016, and have flown in many of the major mountain ranges on Earth. I was the 2015 "National Geographic Adventurer of the Year" for a vol-biv expedition across the Canadian Rockies with Will Gadd, and recently completed a 37 day vol-biv expedition across the full length of the Alaskan Range.
- What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?
Red Bull X-Alps 2015 (8th place). I sailed around the world for 13 years, completing nearly 2 full circumnavigations.
- What does your typical training week consist of?
I have been told that my training regimen is "legendary":) I don't like to give up all my secrets, but my trainer Ben Abruzzo, who has himself competed in races like the Death Race and the World's Toughest Mudder puts me through considerable hell for the X-Alps. A typical week consists of high intensity olympic weight training, LONG days pounding the pavement, and aerobic and anaerobic training.
- What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
Best- Flying the full length of the Alaskan Range and finishing solo; crossing the Canadian Rockies with Will Gadd; being the first American to make goal in the Red Bull X-Alps in 2015; and every time I launch. Worst- getting blown over the back and landing in a river in the Dominican Republic and walking out over a series of massive waterfalls; nearly getting killed in the 2015 X-Alps; getting caught in a gust-front in the Wallis of Switzerland; and battling SUPER high winds in Alaska on a very dicey day!
- What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
Red Bull X-Alps 2015, becoming a Patagonia ambassador, and making the US Ski Team.
- When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
I've been an X-Alps junkie since I first heard of it in 2007. In 2011 I was captaining our vessel "Discovery" and my supporter Bruce Marks and I would watch the event on our laptops whenever we could get cell service in small little ports in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In 2013 I hung my harness in front of the computer and didn't move for 7 days, watching Chrigel massacre the Alps by air. It is the best race in the world!!!
- Have you competed in the Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?
Yes, in 2015 (8th place).
- What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
The risk, the strategy, the teamwork, the physical challenge- it is everything awesome wrapped up into one event! I've been fortunate to have done a lot of crazy and wonderful things but the X-Alps was the highlight of my life in 2015 and I've been dying to do it again since I got to the raft! (Although I didn't actually land on the raft!!!)
- What will be your strategy during the race?
Make less mistakes, be smarter in the air, and like in 2015- have a hell of a lot of fun!
- On average, over a third of the Red Bull X-Alps participants fail to finish the event. Why do you think you will make it?
We were rookies in 2015. We didn't know a lot but considering all the variables I think we did really well, and more importantly- we had a blast and we worked really well as a team. But we made mistakes and going forward we know how to do better and how to shave time. Physically I was prepared but I made too many mistakes in the air. I've been training hard and upping my game, working on Acro and doing things like the Alaska Traverse, which are perfect training grounds for events like the X-Alps. We took the event in 2015 very seriously and I've got the same team going into 2017. We're stoked, and we're going to be very, very well prepared.
- What scares you the most about the event?
To be competitive in the X-Alps you've got to fly in super dicey conditions. You've got to fly in terrible conditions when you are tired and compromised. Everyone who flies in the X-Alps takes a considerable risk and if you push hard...things can happen. Bad things.
- Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?
Yes. Sailed around the world for 13 years straight. First Descents (kayaking) in Central America. Vol-Biv expeditions in the Canadian Rockies and across Alaska. The Alaska Traverse took 37 days to complete, was considerably longer and considerably more physical than the X-Alps, but from a logistics standpoint- it's hard to beat the X-Alps!