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ON DETAIL: ANDREJ DURANA / ZDENO VACKE

“The first time I climbed in a thermal to 2400 meters over my birth town the feelings were so beautiful and so strong that flying became something that gave meaning to my life”

Pilot: Andrej Durana
Nationality: Slovakian
Birth Date: 09.05.1986
City: Banská Bystrica
Country: Slovakia
Job: Chef de Rang (waiter)
Web:
Glider: SKYMAN Crossalps
Harness: SKYMAN Coconea
Helmet: GIRO
Sponsors:  Gradient
Assistant: Zdeno Vacke
Nationality: Slovakian
Birth Date:01.01.1982
City: Banska Bystrica
Country: Slovakia

INTERVIEW

What is your greatest sporting success?
Well, I was a member of successful football team playing 1st National league for 14 years, where I learned how important team work and discipline are, but, after I tried paragliding, football didn´t stand a chance anymore.

When and why did you start paragliding?
I tried paragliding for the first time at the university in 2009. First, I was just driving and walking with my friends to the take offs, but, soon, I couldn´t stay on the ground anymore. The first time I climbed in a thermal to 2400 meters over my birth town, the feelings were so beautiful, and so strong, that flying became something that gave meaning to my life.

What is your mountaineering experience?
Most of my flying experiences, in the past 3 years, are connected with the Indian Himalayas. I love bivouac flying and it is the best way to experience untouched nature and pure mountaineering adventures.

What does your typical training week consist of?
I try to adapt the training program to the conditions I have. I fell in love with cross-country skiing and it is also the main part of my physical preparation in the winter time. I do running, of course, and in between some ice hockey when conditions allow it. Spring is coming and I can´t wait to start the flying part of the preparation.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
My best and worst sporting memories in flying, are connected with the same flight in Indian Himalayas. I gained that day my personal best 5,800 meters flying about Manimahesh. the holy mountain of lord Shiva. The view was beautiful. but the flight exhausting and risky with lots of high clouds announcing an oncoming front. We top landed happily in the lee side with food and water for one night. but of course the weather for the next 2 days wasn´t flyable. It took us the whole day to walk down 2,500 vertical meters with 25kg on the back to the nearest civilization. Hungry, thirsty and with no strength left, we got to the first village just before darkness.

Why does the X-Pyr interest you?
I was a fan of the first edition. It was amazingly well organised and exciting till the end of the race. It is a big chance to see these beautiful mountains and fly along them with the best pilots in the world. I am looking forward to see many interesting places, meeting new people and enjoying the race with my team trying to make the best result possible.

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
I have never had the chance before, but I have heard a lot about its beauty and who knows, perhaps it will become my favorite spot for flying.

What will your strategy be during the race?
The plan is to stay calm all the time, fight with the pressure of the race. And use most of the day staying in the air as long as possible.

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
The race itself. Challenging the best pilots in the world in similar conditions.

What scares you the most about the event?
The result :)

Why will he make a good assistant?
Zdeno has lived with the mountains since he was born and he always has a good overview of what is going on in the air or in your mind. And he is always ready to give you advise when you need it.