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Cloudbase Mayhem Podcast

Sports & Recreation Podcasts

Free flight podcast hosted by Gavin McClurg


United States


Free flight podcast hosted by Gavin McClurg






#208 A Love Affair with Flying- Phil Hystek

"Flat out Phil" Hystek has been instructing free flight in Australia longer than anyone. It began with a fascination of hang gliding in the 70's, becoming a hang gliding instructor in the late 80's in California, being "forced" into paragliding in the early 90's and his energizer batteries are going stronger than ever today. Phil has racked up 171,000 meters of vertical ascent in his back yard to date this year (at age 65!), just returned from a 4 weeks of vol-biv flying in Bir, India and is a story teller for the ages. We travel the world, meet the legends, pull off the absurd in Telluride, pack it hard in Bali, and find out who thrives in this sport and who should maybe take up a different activity.


#207- Behind the Scenes of the Red Bull X-Alps with Tarquin Cooper

Tarquin Cooper has been the voice of the Red Bull X-Alps the last few editions and this year was joined by your host and four-time X-Alps competitor Gavin McClurg to add some commentating and live footage from the air. In this episode the two of us sit down to share our own unique perspective of the race as we chased the athletes and teams around the Alps and had our own adventures (and misadventures!) in our mostly frantic attempts to keep up.

#206- A Walk (and Fly) down Memory Lane with Paul Guschlbauer

Paul Guschlbauer has been on the podium more than anyone in the Red Bull X-Alps other than of course Chrigel. He began his X-Alps journey back in 2011 when by his own account, he was a pretty beginner pilot. But that year the weather was horrific and he is a beast on the ground and he managed to nab 3rd place. This result lead to becoming a Red Bull athlete, a spot in that year's Dolomitimann, and the rest is...well at least history in the making as Paul is far from done! This year's Red Bull X-Alps was Paul's 8th edition of the incredible race and a lot has happened over the more than a decade of racing.


#205- Chasing the Monster with Gordon Boettger

On June 19th this year in the blackness of night Gordon Boettger and his copilot Bruce Campbell donned expedition clothing mountaineers use to climb the highest peaks in the world, stepped into a specialized high performance sailplane, put on their night vision goggles and took to the skies of the Sierra mountain chain at 0230. They didn't know it yet, but they would be in the air flying "wave" (aka the "monster") for over 17 hours and go farther than anyone ever has in a glider, ultimately ticking up 3055 kilometers, or 1898 miles.


#204 – Flying High with Martin Jovanoski

Martin Jovanoski has been flying his entire life. Sailplanes, Hang gliders, Paragliders- in any and all forms. He got started in accuracy, moved into cross country competitions and pretty much does it all when it comes to free-flight. He's one of the big reasons Krushevo, Macedonia has become such a mecca for competitions, and he instructs, guides, flies tandems, designs wings, consults and more. I've been lucky enough to compete with Martin many times in World Cups and hands down Martin is the cream of the crop when it comes to unabashed love for our sport. He's always got the biggest smile on launch. He's the pilot who seems to have retained that first flight wonder of flying we all have throughout his long and very storied career.


#203- The French Domination with Julien Garcia

The objective is simple- be the best in the world, and win championships. In other words- you can go to University to paraglide! Charles Cazaux, Luc Armont, Pierre Remy, Honorin Hamard, Meryl Delferriere, and Maxime Pinot are all products of the French training program and Julien Garcia, our guest on today's show is their coach. For years he was the coach of the junior team and is now the coach of maybe the most elite team the world of paragliding has ever seen. 5 of the top 10 pilots in the WPRS ranking are French right now. In last week's PWC in Targassone, home of the Polisport training center all three top spots went to French pilots. In this episode I grill Julien on the secret sauce of winning.


#202- “The Flying Yogi” Jim Mallinson

Jim Mallinson has a lot of titles. Baronet, Sir, Professor, Doctor, Mahant, and of course Pilot. Jim is the world's leading expert on Hatha yoga and Sanskrit. He has translated texts that go back thousands of years. Jim became fascinated with India on a trip there when he was 18 years old and for every year since other than during Covid he has spent 6 months of every year there living as a Sadhu, or "one who has renounced worldly life"- basically a vagabond, but then during the other 6 months has achieved an unbelievable resume in academia, mostly through Oxford University. He's the author of nine books and scores of academic articles. Described as "perhaps the only baronet with dreadlocks" Jim is one of the most fascinating individuals in our sport. He


#201- Calef Letorney and Community, Confidence, and Cloudwhispering

Calef Letorney was a professional paddler back in the early 2000's who made the switch to flying and has never looked back. When you think of places to fly in the world you don't often put the North East US on the list. There's a lot of trees, cloudbase is low, weather if fickle. But that's where Calef found himself after learning to fly in the Colorado Rockies and his desire to send meant the first thing that had to happen was to get good at flying, and it's hard to get good without other good pilots to fly with, so he had to get others up to snuff as well. So Calef became an instructor, then an SIV instructor, then a guide...and the rest fell into place.


#200- Going pear shaped in Pakistan

Pilots and friends Pierre Carter, Jeremy Holdcroft, Scott Baker, Richard "Barbs" Barber and legendary mountaineer Andy De Klerk set off this June to attempt to break the altitude record by flying up the Baltoro Glacier to K2 in Pakistan. Everything was going well...until it wasn't. Andy suffers a heart attack (in the air!), and Scott breaks the rule of not making a tricky situation worse by blowing a landing on the wrong side of the river and suffers a broken ankle and leg, which turns into an epic on its own. A wild story from a wild part of the world and we break it down into everything that went right, everything that went wrong, and lessons we can all take on board to make our community safer and more prepared in the mountains.


Episode 199- A story of avoiding inconvenience with Alejandro Barañac

We have a saying in our sport, "never avoid inconvenience." But it's easier said than done. An easy field a kilometer away from the train station, or a really tricky field right next to it? Landing in strong wind across a river that means a long walk, or landing in strong wind near a road that will have rotor? In the 21' Vercofly a number of pilots were injured. Some due to rowdy conditions, but several were just because of pilots making poor decisions. This is one of the latter stories from a first-time hike and fly competitor, Alejandro Barañac.


Episode 198- Going Big in…Israel? A flight to remember with Eliya Zemmour

Eliya Zemmour is an Isreali-born climber, endurance athlete, hike and fly guidebook author and...formerly incarcerated conman, but that's another story to be told soon on the podcast! In this show we take a deep dive into his recent 228km flight from the southern tip of Israel past Jerusalem, which broke the country record.


Episode 196- From World Record Skydiving to Paragliding, Reserve Testing, pro repacks with Andrey Kuznetsov

Andrey Kuznetsov has been on the national sky diving team for many years, holds several world records and the genius record (100 way canopy formation record) and has been a long-time test pilot for reserves. He made the transition quite easily from sky diving to paragliding in 2009 and skipped the C class altogether as he found it too slow! He recently flew across Vermont and landed on the beach and owns AirQuest paragliding, a professional reserve packing and line-trimming company. In this episode we talk about his history of sky diving, the transition to XC paragliding, why SO many people don't pack their reserve correctly, trimming gliders, why it matters and a lot more.


Bonus Episode! Behind the scenes before the start of the 23′ Red Bull X-Alps

The toughest adventure race on Earth starts in a few hours! 32...


Episode 197- Honza and Son strike gold in the Alps

5 time Red Bull X-Alps pilot Honza Rejmanek and his son Martin return to the Cloudbase Mayhem this week to recount yet another incredible vol-biv tandem adventure in the Alps. Martin is now 14, and he and his dad have been tackling some pretty epic lines in the Alps since Martin was 8. In this episode they recount their 3rd attempt at hiking and flying from Annecy to Zermatt last summer and hooking into incredible weather which allowed for an amazing flight right up on the Matterhorn massif and then continuing well past their goal of Zermatt and carrying on all the way to Davos. This is inspiration on a magical level.


Episode 195- Sending in Style with Philipp Zellner

In this episode we discuss Philipp's zen for going big, being a professional pilot, the importance of having an acro background and acro training, vol biv, and just some good old fashioned storytelling in the highest mountains on Earth. Tuck in for some inspiration!


Episode 194- The Spring Tune up with Nick Greece and Russ Ogden

This week we dive into spring with the current World Champion and long-time Ozone test pilot Russ Ogden and multiple US National Champion Nick Greece. Year after year we see accidents in free flight spike in spring. Spicy conditions, rusty skills, new unfamiliar gear, heightened stoke, another year behind us, lack of confidence... we explore the many things that might have an impact on why we see the spike and what you can do to make sure you're not in the data set.


Episode 193- “The Scariest Flight of my Life” with Nikolay Lipko

There are times in a pilots career when things do not go according to plan. This is one of those times. Nikolay Lipko had a rather unusual (but not unheard-of) event flying in Chamonix, France that thankfully ended quite well thanks to a successful reserve deployment. As with all incidents, there is hindsight and modifications to how to take to the skies. And if anything else, this story is a case study for why SIV training is so important. In this instance your host and our guest don't see eye-to-eye on the cause and effect but the take-aways are valuable.


Episode 192- Questions answered with Myles Connolly

Our Mayhem editor Myles Connolly is about 350 hours into his flying journey and is leaving soon for an SIV course with Jocky Sanderson in Turkey. We thought it would be fun to connect and have him fire questions at me about all the things he's currently curious about as his XC skills and training progress. Hike and fly; risk related to big events like the Red Bull X-Alps; how to approach Vol Biv (gear, locations, top landing, distance, etc.); Wing and gear developments and the new 2 liner C wings, gear choices and a lot more.


Episode 191- A Walk (and Fly) down memory lane with Gaspard Petiot

Gaspard Petiot is a mountain guide and very accomplished pilot who competed successfully in the Red Bull X-Alps in 2015 (5th, Monaco), 2017 (broken wrist, withdrawn after leading day 6) and 2019 (7th, Monaco) despite having very bad knees. In this episode we rewind the clock as we have done with the others in this X-Alps series and hear the behind-the-scenes stories that the fans didn't see on live tracking.


Episode 190- A Walk (and Fly) down memory lane with Manuel Nubel (Ger 1)

Manuel Nubel has competed in four Red Bull X-Alps, starting in 2015. On Team USA 1 we call him the comeback kid. He often starts in the middle or back of the pack but gets stronger and more crafty as the race goes on. We rewind the clock to 2015, his first race and find out the back story of landing in a tree on his way to Monaco and the hilarity that ensues, the ups and downs of his campaigns, (for example having to quit due to exhaustion in 2017, and making a series of magical moves in 2021 which saw him climb from 16th to 6th in the final days of the race) and his decision to not compete in 2023, but why we may see him again in 2025.