Just under half an hour north of San Diego on I-5 and just opposite UCSD Park, you’ll see a sign that says “Gliderport“. You might look at this quickly as you drive by and wonder what a “Gilderport” is, thinking about either Dutch money or the Princess Bride, and go to investigate as we did last weekend while in town to see a concert.Torrey Pines Gliderport is a school, cafe, and shop that will not only take you up as a tandem flier for $150-$175, they will also teach you how to be your own pilot, and are the American distributor for several companies that make para and hang-gliding gear. For over 75 years, they have been a nexus for would-be aeronauts in Southern California. Paragliding involves a running takeoff from a point on a hill with favorable winds, and this spot just south of Torrey Pines is perfect. Gliders can be seen most days, but especially on weekends, up and down the coast, literally hanging in mid-air. With a slight shifting of the weight and a pull of the arm, you can climb, dive, twist, or hover above the scenic rocky shore below. It is a cheaper sport to get involved in than flying a small plane or hot air balloon, or buying a boat, but it still has an entry cost of at least $5000 for a glider, harness, helmet, and basic instruction. Sadly, we only got to watch for awhile this time, but you can be sure that the next time we are in San Diego, we will take the opportunity to fly for half an hour, watching the sun set over the Pacific.
Posted by Ted on Oct 16, 2009 in Activities
An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. He is also managing editor for Rolf Potts' Vagabonding, where he curates a Case Study series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.