The world is oversaturated with GoPro/POV shots and it takes creativity to stand out, but a speed-flying rig is a good start. Born-and-raised in Pemberton, Austin Ross grew up exploring the Coast Mountains as often as possible and by any means necessary. His POV edits consistently rank among the best of the year, so we connected to talk airtime, hang time, and getting the shot.
This is a sweet angle, talk about how you differentiate yourself when it comes to POV shooting?
It’s mostly trial and error, just trying things. When I first got a GoPro, I went to the kitchen store and got an egg timer and did some cool 360-degree time lapses. I have another mount that’s a fibreglass pole with fins on it, almost like a lawn dart that flies behind me on a string. It took some getting used to, to get the angle right and keep it from hitting my cords. This one is another new mount – it’s just a magnet that you put on either side of the wing and it holds the camera in place.
This is speed riding, how is it different from regular paragliding?
Basically it’s just a smaller wing. Paragliding has a big wing that you can use to catch thermals and glide around. Fundamentally, a speed wing is similar but it’s smaller, and as far as the launch and landing, everything happens a lot faster and you are closer to the terrain and making quicker decisions. Flying sports are all about spatial awareness and constant assessments based on your surroundings. It’s a mental workout with math, science, instinct and fun all rolled into one sport.
How did you get into this sport?
Gradually. I started with paragliding. Growing up in Pemby, I would see paragliders flying around. The landing zone is at the old community centre and a few of the local pilots are friends with my parents, ski bums from back in the day. One year I had been tree planting and I had some extra cash. I called Jim Orava and he said, “Meet me at the community centre in 15 minutes.” And that was the start. I did some ground training and was in the air that day.
“I feel like with skiing or biking, you are often either too slow or too fast for the people you’re with, so you’re waiting or rushing to catch up. With flying, I’m in my own world making my own decisions until I’m back on the ground.”
What’s the learning curve like?
It takes practice. I did 20 flights in Pemby, then we went to Mexico and did a lot of training at Valle de Bravo, where the monarch butterflies migrate to. My first launch on skis was off Mount Currie, just with my regular paragliding wing. And then I went to Chamonix, that is the mecca of speed riding, and just watched some of the better guys. I wanted to be experienced and ready before I switched to a smaller wing – it’d be like learning to drive in a hotrod.
What do you love most about flying?
As soon as my feet leave the ground I’m by myself. I feel like with skiing or biking, you are often either too slow or too fast for the people you’re with, so you’re waiting or rushing to catch up. With flying, I’m in my own world making my own decisions until I’m back on the ground. It’s unreal.
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COVERING THE ANGLES: 8 TIPS TO POV SUCCESS
In our Febraury 2017 issue, born-and-raised Pemberton skier/flyer/adventurer Austin Ross discussed the sport of Speed Riding (a sort of blend of paragliding and skiing) and the importance of getting creative with your POV camera angles. Check out Austin’s “8 Tricks for POV Success”… Read more
LAST COL WITH AUSTIN ROSS
Born and raised on a hobby farm in B.C.’s Pemberton Valley, Austin Ross quickly fell in love with the mountains. Under the craggy peaks of Mt. Currie, his tight knit family instilled in him a deep desire to explore the natural world, embrace creativity and follow his own path… Read more