Sky High

Heads in the clouds

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Marty Taylor

Each contributor adds their own style to the magazine. Some lie in wait, others get up close and personal. But for Marty Taylor, weaving through the clouds beneath a paraglider is the method of choice.

Incurable thrill seeker and risk taker, along with being one of the few New Zealand Geographic contributors who both write and photograph, Taylor takes the readers to worlds of adventure that, let’s face it, most of us would prefer to just read about from the comfort of an armchair.

Taylor has always bordered on the extreme.

“From the very first time I launched my pa­raglider, I was hooked—everyday life couldn’t ever get me up to the heights of adrenalin that once experienced, I would forever crave. Anabatic air was now my drug of choice,” he says.

In issue 71, Marty accompanied Omarama airfield gliding instructor Dieter Betz 24,000 feet in the air. With his breath encrusting the surrounding cockpit in ice, he snapped a self-portrait. “The poker face might not give much away but I was tripping,” he says. This lead him on to write the paragliding feature in the 2005 issue, conveying the euphoria, terror, awe and concentration of the moment.

But with extreme adventure is required deep insights into the forces of nature; humidity, temperature, pressure, and keeping your head when it all starts to get a little dicey. Succeeding in both preserving your life and satisfying the art director is a high bar, but then Taylor is at his best at high altitude.

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