Bay Area Skydiving vs Paragliding

Many people compare skydiving in the bay area to our paragliding experience. It looks very similar as both sports involve being under a canopy. Despite it looking somewhat the same, the experience is very different. This guide should help you decide whether paragliding or skydiving is a better experience for you.

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The Skydiving vs Paragliding Experience

Skydiving is an adrenaline sport. You jump out of an airplane and plummet towards the earth at terminal velocity. Once the parachute opens, there’s a feeling of relief as you realize the equipment worked the way it’s supposed to. Phew! The canopy ride down to the ground is a lot more peaceful than the freefall, but the tandem instructor may decide to show you a spiral which is more exciting than a flat ride down. Generally tandem skydiving operations have their tandems land on their butt. The entire experience lasts 5 to 6 minutes from the door to floor, 50 seconds of which is freefall.

Tandem paragliding on the other hand is a bit different. Like skydiving you are harnessed together with your instructor. Unlike skydiving, your instructor inflates the canopy from the ground, there is no leap of faith. Once the instructor gets the wing overhead and verifies that everything look good, you both take several steps forward. A second or two later, you are lifted from the ground. From there, your instructor will find rising air and you’ll soar with the birds. The launch process can be exciting as your prelaunch nervousness converts to euphoria. Once we are in the air, the experience is quite relaxing. We will cruise around the coast and check out some cool sights (whales, seals, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc). If you’re feeling up to it, we will perform some tricks which can be quite exhilarating! Our flights generally last between 25 and 30 minutes and the landings are a lot slower than a skydiving landing. You can choose to land on your feet or on the airbag under your butt.

What Experience is Right for You

We are obviously biased towards paragliding, but either sport may be more targeted towards you. If you’ve not tried either of these crazy sports paragliding is a great place to start. If you’re nervous about skydiving, give paragliding a try. Let us show you some tricks and you love it, you’ll probably also like skydiving. On the other hand, if you know you’re an adrenaline seeker, you’ll love both experiences. Regardless your choice, we hope you have the time of your life!


Paragliding down the coast in San Francisco

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Our Tandem instructor Mark went skydiving and looks like a chipmunk!