Red Bull X-Alps

The flying Kiwi tells all

The "Comeback Kiwi" Nick Neynens has shared a rocking account of his Red Bull X-Alps 2015 experience and how he went from last to 10th – mostly wearing flip-flops.

© Nick Neynens
 neynens jandals2.jpg

Sticking to his style and taking risks is what Nick Neynens says got him from dead last to a respectable 10th in Red Bull X-Alps 2015.

The enthusiastic New Zealand adventurer has given a detailed account in his blog of each day of the race, the decisions he made and what got him to Monaco.

“After my disastrous early landing on day one I was firmly in last place,” Nick wrote in the first of three blog posts about the race. “With good legs and a few competitors scattered within 30km ahead, [my supporter] Louis said if it was him, he’d just walk. “But you have to take risks in this race and despite fears of elimination I really didn’t want to change my style, because I think when you do that, you’re finished.”

Staying true to his Kiwi style, Nick kept calm and carried on. Flip-flops – called “jandals” in New Zealand – were his footwear of choice, especially when it rained. It’s not unusual to see hardy Kiwis wearing flip-flops even during New Zealand's winter months so perhaps it’s unsurprising that Nick even wore his beloved jandals while flying above the Alps. 

After his poor start Nick made rapid ground in the field, finding shortcuts that allowed him to overtake other athletes and to stop worrying about being eliminated. He began to have more fun, which is at the heart of his personal adventure philosophy. 

The highlight of his journey to Monaco was crossing the Brenta Dolomites.

“Soaring amongst these 4000m peaks and assorted glaciers was certainly a highlight of my Red Bull X-Alps,” Nick says. “What’s more I was finally in the midst of the other competitors, as after losing everyone on the first day I wondered if I’d missed the whole point and may as well just be on a vol biv trip on my own.” 

Nick said it was an amazing opportunity to be the first New Zealander in the race, which he sees as the “pinnacle of hike and fly”. But would he do it again?

“It was fun, so why not?” Nick wrote in his blog. “The race itself was an amazing adventure and everything I’d hoped for.”

Visit Nick’s blog for his full race reports.