Red Bull X-Alps

Pascal's four big lessons

“I got a big smash in my face,” Pascal Purin says about his Red Bull X-Alps experience. We caught up with the 25-year-old test pilot to find out what he learned.

© zooom.at/Vitek Ludvik

Austrian athlete Pascal Purin had a tough Red Bull X-Alps after injuring a foot on a rough landing.

He soldiered on until just after Turnpoint 6, but eventually the pain became too great to continue. A blood sack had formed under his foot due to the injury, putting pressure on his bones. He could go no further. 

“The hardest part of my race was making the decision to quit, to say it doesn’t make sense anymore and just to let it go,” he says. “Of course you’re in a competition so you take more risks, but I decided I didn’t want to harm myself. “Everybody was happy we made that decision.”

While disappointing to pull out, Pascal and his team had a lot of fun and learned a great deal.  In fact, Pascal believes he now has the know-how to become one of the top competitors in Red Bull X-Alps. 

We caught up with him as he prepares for the Paragliding World Cup in India this October. We asked him what he learned from Red Bull X-Alps 2015.

Master cross-country flying 

“I’m a great pilot, but I got a big smash in my face because I spent too little time practicing cross-country flying,” Pascal says. “I was hoping to get good runs in the air and I didn’t expect the cross-country flying to be so difficult. It was big time frustrating.” 

Stay airborne

“I would focus much more on the flying,” Pascal says. “You really get stupid if you walk too much. It becomes big handicap in the air. It’s better to save some energy and avoid falling asleep in the air and fly 100km further.”

Preparation, preparation, preparation

“After the race I learned I should be more focused on the project, but it’s difficult when you have a job,” Pascal says. “We did well with the time and money we had, but the result was a little embarrassing.”

Build a bigger, more experienced team

“I had two people only supporting me, and no one giving me advice about what was happening on Live Tracking,” Pascal says. “I also had no one in my team with cross-country flying expertise. If I compete in the next race, I would need two additional supporters.”