Winter Kario fun ridge race and BBQ for HG and PG

John's picture

I am organizing an AHGPC social event and BBQ at Karioitahi Beach this winter (May/June) when there is a fine ridge-soarable Saturday. (A wind strength of around 12 knots should be enough for both HG and PG pilots to participate.) 

The "AHGC RIDGE RACE" trophy was last awarded to Geoff Coombs in 1998. Now, 16 years later, it's time to revist the glory days of the last century, the fun times at the beach, and those glorious beach BBQs. Let's re-activate this old HG trophy and add one for the PG pilots. All will be welcome, from beginners to advanced pilots. 

As the first step in rehabilitating this contest, I want to hold a race on a casual basis, to find out what the bottlenecks and problems with running it will be. The idea is to simple turn up, get in the air, have a flying start across the start line at a pre-set time, race up to a northern turn-point, race down to a southern turn point, and then land back at Kario beach and get your time recorded. I want as many pilots over as wide a skill-range as possible. (There will be a shorter, safer course for Novices and PG fledgelings.) 

"Learning by doing" will help train me and other race organizers so that we can hold better races and events for the club members in the future. I don't want to have to re-invent the wheel, so if there is anyone out there who has competition organization experience who can mentor me (or who wants to help out) then please come forward. I'm a HG pilot, so someone with PG experience to coordinate the PG side of the race would be good. My goal is to turn this into an annual off-season event and use it to help would-be event organizers gain experience in running competitions. 

I'll be monitoring the weather, and when a suitable Saturday appears, I'll mass e-mail the AHGPC members and give them about 5 days' notice, with a final call early on the Saturday morning. 

After the race, we can use the newly purchased AHGPC BBQ to hold a party on the beach (either south of the Surf Club or further down the coast at Maioro) like in years gone by. 

Kario Comp

robborobinson's picture

Sounds great !   hope the weather is kind to us at some stage.  Could I ask that the event also be advertised on the Cloudbase Google Plus site!   as most of clubs information is now also accessed thru this. Thanks Robbo

Cloudbase Google Plus site

John's picture

Hello Robbo, 

I don't know how to do that. Maybe someone can give me instructions or do a cut-and-paste  to the Cloudbase Google Plus site

At this stage, I have some candidate weekends that start about a month after the Easter fly-in. I'll get the novice HG pilots together at Kario a couple of weeks before the event and lead them over the course so that they'll know where the turn points are (and won't feel intimidated by the course). Most of them haven't been as far north as the big gap that is some  8 km north of Kario. 

What is the name of that first (and widest) gap? It's not Hamiltons Gap (that's far further north, and has a road runnng to it. It's not Cochrane's Gap (which is quite small). Someone told me it was called Taylor's Gap, but I haven't been able to confirm that.

I want to have a fun day, where HG and PG pilots get to fly, and then enjoy socializing and a BBQ (on the beach, maybe?). Just like the good old days (before my time).  


johnnyhopper's picture

It's the "Lake Gap", innit? 

Here to help

johnnyhopper's picture

John, give me a shout on 0210562275 if you want some help 


John's picture

I'll need a PG pilot to coordinate the paragliders on the day of the event, so I will phone you in a couple of weeks' time. (I'll have my hands full with the HG pilots.)

To keep it simple, I'll record the time when each pilot takes off, and the time when they land. (That will eliminate the need for mucking around with starting gates.) The advanced pilots can program the two turn-points (north and south) into their instruments. Most of the novices will not have GPS capability and will have to turn above visual waypoints.


I went to Google Earth and recorded some waypoints. I will use a combination of GPS waypoints and visual waypoints. The visual waypoints will be for the people (mostly junior pilots) who don't have GPS. 
For the advanced and intermediate pilots, the north waypoints will be:
  • The northernmost safe point on the Awhitu Peninsula where the coast starts to curve [37 03' 32.04" S / 174 32' 08.77" E]
  • The lighthouse (Advanced pilots only) [37 03' 02.39" S / 174 32' 44.89" E]
  • The beginners will simply fly 8 km north of Kario to the highest point on the cliff on the south side of the big gap (but will not attempt to cross the gap)
The southern waypoint will be at Maioro where the cliff curves inland [37 20' 03.71" S / 174 40' 58.33" E]. This is a couple of hundred meters south of where the PG pilots practice. 
I'll want a day when the wind is not too far off to the south or the north, as this will make it difficult for the novice pilots. I recon SW through to WNW will be acceptable, with WSW to W being optimal. A good wind strength will be from 10-13 knots on the HG launch. 
Check my waypoints out, and let me know if they are out-of-whack. 

I expect pilots to be honest, but I will demand the fastest Advanced pilot from the AHGPC to submit a track log (.igc file) for verification. The competition will be open to Waikato, B.O.P and members of any other clubs, but since this is an Auckland trophy, I feel that it can only be presented to an AHGPC member (even if the line honours go to a pilot from out of town). 

I'll need to put a catering team together to do a bit of shopping and set up the BBQ. It's probably better to have the BBQ just south of the surf club. Access will be easy, and we'll be out of the public eye. 

Hi John, Looking forward to

Jeff Ripley's picture

Hi John,

Looking forward to the ridge race, bout time we did one of those again. The first big gap is called Waltons Gap.

Hi a suggestion for the event

Malcolm's picture

Hi a suggestion for the event name. Shorten it very slightly and it becomes the winter Kario Fridge race :)

I thought it was "Walton's

John's picture

I thought it was "Walton's Gap." Thanks for confirming that. 


Post-flight BBQ location

John's picture

Hello All,

Where would be the best place to hold the post-flight BBQ? I have two candidate sites at the moment, both with their own pros and cons.

1) Just south of the surf club

Pros: Easy access  Cons: Perhaps a little too public

2) Maioro

Pros: Private  Cons: Need 4WD to get there and back from Kario

Also, I will choose a weekend in which low tide will be in the early afternoon. This means a high tide around the time the BBQ will finish. Will this be a problem? 

If anyone has any suggestions for the location of the BBQ, please let me know.  

I need a PG pilot to help me with the PG side of the fly-in because I need to clarify the PG launch and landing locations to facilitate a smooth flow and minimize risk.

I also need to formally contact the PG schools to request their cooperation with this AHGPC event. 

I don't think that we really

I don't think that we really need to worry about a BBQ site near the surf club being too public. There are people down there all the time drinking beers and hooning about in cars, so a bunch of paragliders and hangies hanging out having a BBQ isn't going to bother anyone. It'll make it a lot easier for everyone to head off from there as well, so I'd say that's the better option.

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