Catching up with the Korean Dragon
Chi-Kyong Ha, called Hachi by friends, achieved his goal of reaching Monaco in the Red Bull X-Alps 2015. We recently caught up with Hachi and asked him about his experience.
Q. Firstly, congratulations on your fantastic Red Bull X-Alps result! How was it?
A: It was a really tough competition. The hardest part was hiking, so I tried to fly as much as possible. Thankfully I could keep going because of the cheers from many people.
Q. Are you pleased you achieved your goal of reaching Monaco?
A: It really is a great achievement. It was miracle! Even I cannot believe that I made the goal in such poor conditions. The moment I reached the goal, Monaco, I cried. It was a reward for the pains of a hard race.
Q. What was it like for you when you finally reached Monaco and saw the Mediterranean Sea? Were you on a high or feeling exhausted?
A: I was really happy because I could stop hiking! It was nothing feeling tired.
Q. What did you learn by competing in Red Bull X-Alps 2015?
A: That Mother Nature is the great power and is pure. The challenges humans are capable of are huge and great, too. There's nothing I cannot do if I dream and try enough.
Q. I heard that you had an injury in the race. Please tell me about this and how it affected your race?
A: I had an injury on my foot, especially the sole on the second day. It hurt me for the whole race. Every morning I had a painkiller. The race doctors helped me a lot so I could continue.
Q. What did you most enjoy about the race?
A: The beautiful Alps. It was the most enjoyable part of flying. I will not forget those scenes, ever. It was my first time to see, to fly through the Alps.
Q. What was the most challenging aspect of the race?
A: During the middle of the race I launched in very poor conditions that I didn't think I could fly in. But I took off and fought strong turbulence, went up to a high altitude and flew further than I believed possible. I hit the jackpot that day!
Q. What was your favorite stage of the race and why?
A: It was the first day. I was nervous because of the altitude restriction. The weather was wonderful and it was a delight to fly with all of the players together.
Q. What was the most difficult stage of the race and why?
A: The last section. It was hard because there was an altitude restriction only 23km from the goal. It was hard to find a place to land, too.
Q. You wrote to me last time that you were a little worried about flying over 3000m mountains – how was this for you during the race?
A: It is no problem for me to fly over 3000m mountains. I was nervous to hike up to 3000m, but fortunately I made it without any serious problems.
Q. You also told me you are good at flying in strong winds – did this help you during the race?
A: Absolutely, of course. Sometimes there were very strong and tough conditions that threatened my life. But I am really good in strong conditions like that. I have the confidence to control my glider in those conditions.
Q. What would you do differently if you were to do this race again?
A: If I tried the race once more, I would prepare perfectly and I think I would then achieve a better result.
Q. Do you think you’ll compete in Red Bull X-Alps 2017?
A: Well … I'm thinking about it.
Q. Any new adventures soon on the horizon?
I'm preparing. Expect me.