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Former F-18 Hornet Topgun pilot whose first love is paragliding

Christiaan Durrant


Christiaan Durrant


  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Residence
    St Gilgen (Austria)
  • Experience
  • Wing
    OZONE Zeolite 2
  • Harness
    SKYWALK Xalps2
  • Helmet
    CHARLY Loop

Mathew Brown


  • Nationality
    United Kingdom
  • Residence
    St. Gilgen (Austria)

Team details

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Why did you choose the X-Pyr?
I am training hard for the X-Alps 2025 – the X-Pyr will be a good test.

What is your greatest sporting success?
Solo mini-Transatlantic sailing race 2022.

When and why did you start paragliding?
Started in 2018 but began training seriously in 2023.

What is your mountaineering experience?
Traditional alpine climber, Mont Blanc plus 3 other > 4000m peaks.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
13th at my first XC paragliding race. Landing in a 55km/hr valley wind.

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before? Do you have a favourite area?
No – really looking forward to seeing the beauty.

Is there anything you like to see (or not) in the route?
I like to see wild animals when I am flying – they are hard to see on foot and on a paraglider we often get close before they realise we are there.

Apart from flying far and walking little, what will your strategy be during the race?
Use the other athletes to mark the thermals – cover the competition.

What does your typical training week consist of?
Up to 9 hours physical training, running, hiking and gym. Then try to chose the optimum windows for flying based on work/family and weather.

What has been the hardest part of your race preparation so far?
Not seeing my family much – I have had to travel a lot over the European winter to race.

What excites you most about participating in the X-Pyr?
The camaraderie with the other athletes.

What worries you the most about the event?
Not assessing the conditions correctly and ending up in the air when I should not be.

How do you know your assistant?
Matt is a cosmologist who teaches my children at school – he is also a Paraglider pilot who lives in my village in Austria. We have been hiking and flying together for the last 3 years.

What are your assistant’s main strengths?
Matt is fit for hiking uphill carrying any additional load I need donkey’d up. He is also a Paraglider pilot so can act as a wind dummy and fly back to the van to save his knees.

What advice would you ask of the race veterans?
I would try to better understand the more frequent weather patterns that occur between the Atlantic and Mediterranean influences.

Anything else you like to comment?
I don’t believe age has to hold you back – you can continue to grow and thrive for your entire life.

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