Although most vistors flock to Tenerife for its year-round warm waters and sunny beaches, the island is actually a prime location for all kinds of sports — whether they involve water, land or air. In fact, Tenerife has everything a glider needs for a truly awesome experience: a multitude of take-off sites, great thermals, expansive landing fields and a landscape just crying to be viewed from the air.
What is Paragliding?
In a nutshell, paragliding involves a person harnessed to an open parachute (or wing) who takes off from an elevated location (a hilltop or cliff) and glides to a lower-altitude landing site.
Thermals (i.e. flows of rising warm air) play an important part in lifting the paraglider and extending the flight. The harnesses includes controls that allow the pilot to steer.
Beginners or less-experienced fliers have the option of a tandem flight, where they’re harnessed to an experienced, certified pilot.
The two main necessities for paragliding are a parachute or wing, and a harness. Each of these has multiple parts than ensure safety and let the pilot extend his or her flight as much as possible.
Harnesses are usually designed so that the pilot is positioned comfortably reclining and tend to include both protective cushioning and a backup parachute.
In addition to this basic equipment, many pilots also use navigational instruments and radios.
While paragliding is considered an extreme sport, proper training and equipment coupled with good flying conditions minimize the potential for accidents and injury.
Unless you are a proficient pilot, the safest way to enjoy paragliding in Tenerife is to book a tandem flight with a certified pilot and top-notch equipment.
As mentioned above, Tenerife has truly perfect conditions for paragliding.
Some of the best take-off sites in Tenerife include the village of Izaña, Taganana and the Adeje area, while the optimal season for gliding is November to March.
The island’s air currents provide a range of flying conditions from gentle soaring to strong thermals.
Parasailing and Hang Gliding
Two sports closely related to paragliding are parasailing and hang gliding.
Similar to paragliding, parasailing (a.k.a. parascending or parakiting) also requires a harness and parachute, but the main difference is that the flier is towed — over either land or water. The most popular version of parascending in Tenerife is, of course, over water and involves a speedboat. The sport also allows multiple people to be harnessed to one wing, only the positioning is side-by-side.
Hang gliding, on the other hand, is a kind of gliding that uses not a parachute but a kite-like contraption called a hang glider. It’s also great fun, although flights are typically shorter than with a paraglider.