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Ferdinand van Schelven
- Nationality: Netherlands
- Date of birth: 12. May. 1984
- Profession: Outdoor Guide
- Supporter: Nicole Vincent Piazza
- Glider: Skywalk Poison X-Alps
- Sponsors: Bennet & Boss, Skywalk, Leki, X Socks, Millet, HR Mobility, Scai Adaptors, all the crowdfunding people...
- "The Flying Dutchman" has proven himself over two editions of Red Bull X-Alps, finishing in the Top 10 in both the 2013 and 2015 editions of Red Bull X-Alps. Following Red Bull X-Alps 2015, van Schelven moved to Switzerland and has been racking up hours and hours of flight time. Top 5 in 2017? You'll have to wait and see.
- When and why did you begin paragliding?
Being a kid who wouldn't want to fly, my father taught me when I was ten years old.
- Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.
Not really, some small races and the Red Bull X-Alps, but this might change.
- What is your mountaineering experience?
It is actually my work, I work as an outdoor instructor. When it comes to mountaineering, I love the mountains, as soon as I can I go there and in winter I like to do ski-touring.
- What is your paragliding experience?
It is my 20th anniversary this year. I started flying when I was really young and when the gliders looked more like parachutes. I did a lot of training when I was young, wich helped me along my whole flying career. In 3 editions of Red Bull X-Alps, I reached Monaco twice, finishing 7th, 6th and 7th again.
- What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?
Competed in Red Bull X-Alps three times, a lot of trail running.
- What does your typical training week consist of?
Usually I like to change and do a bit of everything, running, mtb, walking long distance, walking to take off....
- What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
They were probably all during the different editions of Red Bull X-Alps that I competed in; some amazing flights of almost 200km and some shitty situations when you wonder "Why am I flying, what am I doing here...?!"
- What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
Finishing the most incredible race there is twice.
- When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
A long time ago in New Zealand.
- Have you competed in the Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?
Yes, in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
- What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
I told everyone I would not do the Red Bull X-Alps again. After the last edition, I was scared a couple of times during the race, mainly because I didn't fly enough in preparation of the race. But of course, we all had some nasty lee side flying and weird moments. I want to try one more time, because I actually decided to move to Switzerland. In the past I kept on saying that I was not prepared enough for the race because I live in the flat lands and flying in those mountains is just a different game. Living in the Alps will make a huge difference for me and I want to try to be as strong as possible to try and keep up with the lead.
- What will be your strategy during the race?
Fly as much as I can, walk as fast as I can.
- 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?
I know I can.
- What scares you the most about the event?
The risk management like always.
- Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?