Parasailing vs Paragliding in the Bay Area

A lot of our customers ask us how paragliding is different than parasailing. Overall, the difference is quite drastic. Because it’s such a common question, we’d like to outline some of the major differences.

Parasailing in the Bay Area

Parasailing is always done on the water and behind a boat. Because parasailing is done from a boat and because the bay tends to be relatively cool, there are no parasailing companies in the Bay Area. Additionally, there are many days where wind speeds become unsafe for parasailing.

Parasailing uses a round canopy. Passengers are pulled into the air by a boat, a line, and a payout winch. Once up in the air, you’re in for a ride. Many parasailing operations like to dunk their passengers into the water before pulling them back into the air.

Paragliding in the Bay Area

Paragliding is quite different than parasailing. There are lots of places to paraglide in the Bay Area. The most popular place is just South of San Francisco along the ocean. Unlike parasailing, there is no boat and no line (although that’s possible too) involved. Paragliders launch from a hill or cliff and are able to climb from finding areas of rising air (ridge lift, thermal lift, convergence lift, etc).

Because there’s no line involved, we’re able to go wherever we’d like to go (although some areas are better than others). Because of this, we’re able to cover a much larger area than parasailers can. Additionally we’re able to swing, dive, and roll, which is a lot of fun.


If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, parasailing isn’t an option. We also must admit that we’re biased and like paragliding more. That said, our customers that have tried both tend to agree. We’re not against or opposed to parasailing. In some places, the conditions may even favor parasailing.

If you’re around the SF Bay area and have questions about paragliding, we’re happy to answer them. Our phone number is 650-735-2359. If you’d like to bookbook, click below.