In this series we will introduce some pilots that we have a special relationship with so you can get to know them. This second article is dedicated to Jason Gondonneau, who created Au Fil du Vent !
Can you introduce yourself ?
JG : My name is Jason Gondonneau (Jaz) and I’m 25 years old. I was born near Agen. From an early age I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere and was a loner. I suffered a lot in school and turned to video games. At around 15 years old I started a course in woodworking. After graduating, I started working in a cutlery workshop where my hands could do the talking. When I was 19, feeling happy, I decided to do what gives me the greatest sense of fulfilment : I wanted to be on the road and meet people. Get to know people, learn, feeling alive, that’s what I love.
When and how did you learn paragliding ?
JG : At the end of my first journey (8 months on the round with my friend Nicolas), some paragliding pilots gave me a lift and told me it was as difficult as it sounds to learn paragliding and that you could fly with all your trekking gear ! From that point on I told myself I wasn’t going to hurt my knees going down the mountains and that I would fly instead. After the initiation course and 5 flights, I bought my paragliding gear and went on to fly 20 times on my own in the Pyrenees. Then around 80 more in the Cantal, where I was driving for the paragliding school Parapente Puy Mary for around 4 months.
Can you tell us more about the project you created and Supair was a part of ?
JG : Supair took part in my project called “Au fil du vent” (along with the wind). After only 80 flights, Supair had faith in my project, myself and my ex-girlfriend.
The idea was to achieve what I started a few years back : going around France meeting people. For a whole, I would have only my feet and paragliding gear to travel. No money, just walking, flying and hitchhiking. I crossed the Pyrenees westwards and went along the coast up North. Then came Britanie and all the way up to Dunkirk followed by a southward journey through Belgium, eastern France and the Alps.
Thanks to Supair I was equipped with much lighter gear (Leaf Light glider and Radical 3 harness): around 6 kilos including the reserve parachute. I could have gone lighter but I needed to feel safe as I was still a progressing pilot.
Could you share an interesting paragliding memory with us ?
JG : Where do I start ? The hardest part is having to choose one between them. They are all unique and got me to learn a lot. But I think the flight I will never forget has to be the first one. I took off, which I was looking forward to but still a bit anxious about, and within the first minute all the stress disappeared. I looked at my wing and the landscape; I remember I started crying tears of joy and wandered “why did it take me so long to do this?!”. I found something I loved.
What are your upcoming projects ?
JG : I had a lot ! The first one is to finish editing the video of my journey. I want to take this project around the world as well ! Another one is to take my paragliding gear and do a trip on horseback with my girlfriend Apolline. A dream for both of us and maybe the opportunity for me to train horses so they can be used as a winch as well. A project with my friend Nicolas is to find a place where we can live in complete and sustainable autonomy. Having a home so that we can welcome people just as people welcomed us in their home when we were travelling. And then the usual : drawing, painting, sculpting, creating, etc.