Melanie Heather landing at goal at at Kaimais

Melanie Heather landing at goal at at Kaimais

Melanie Heather, Leo Geary Memorial Trophy 2014 winner

WholeoOnline   Leo   Trophy

From Melanie Heather:


My name is Melanie Heather and I am the recipient of the Leo Geary Memorial Trophy for 2014. I feel incredibly honoured to receive this award. It gives me a bubbly warm fuzzy feeling! The positive nature of winning such an award urges me to pursue my flying even more and makes me feel very supported by the paragliding community.

"I am originally from Ireland but l learnt to paragliding in Queenstown, New Zealand, 2.5 years ago.

"It is such a privilege to fly the sky. I love adventure, the mountains and the environment. XC paragliding is a natural fit.

"There were two rounds to the NZ PG Open this year. The first was held in Nelson and the second in Rotorua. I exceeded all my expectations for the competition, went to lots of new sites and most importantly had heaps of fun. My favourite flight during the comp was at the Kaimais. What made it so special was spending most of the flight flying alongside my friend Sandy Yong (a previous Leo Geary Memorial Trophy recipient). We took it in turns to lead out and hunt for thermals. We pointed and waved at each other as we passed over beautiful waterfalls. Sharing an experience like that with a friend is pretty special. And to top it off, we both made it to 'goal' for the first time!

"I love the 'team' side of flying. Last year I rustled up a team of 28 NZers to enter a 'state' team at the State of Origin paragliding competition in Manilla, Australia. This is one of the largest competitions in the world (183 pilots last year!) and is completely geared towards advancing novice pilots. We did NZ proud, really proud. Our 'state' team came 2nd overall and I took the top individual spot followed by Louis Tapper (last year's recipient of the Leo Geary award). If any novice pilots read this.... go to the State of Origin!

"I had a look at previous recipients of the Trophy and realised that may of them are an inspiration to me. Mark Hardman taught me to fly and has encouraged me every little step of the way. A good mentor is an important part of a pilot's development. I feel lucky to have had that opportunity and with more experience, I hope I can provide inspiration to others.

"Thanks to the NZ PG Open and the memory of Leo Geary for the encouragement this Trophy provides!

"Melanie :D"

Melanie Heather landing at goal at at Kaimais

Melanie Heather with Leo Geary trophy and NZ Women's Champion trophy

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