Mathieu Rouanet, Paramotor World Champion 2005
Interview by Ojovolador.com. Reproduction strictly forbidden. © Ojovolador.com 2007. All rights reserved.
“All paraglider pilots should try Paramotoring: They would be surprised!”
[Interview © Ojovolador.com, Jan. 2006. All rights reserved]
Mathieu, how was your fist PPG flight?
I borrowed a GPX paramotor and flew it. I loved it! I flew alone for about a year, but then I decided it was time to get my license –it is illegal to fly without a license in France- and fly with some other people, learn more. Then, in 2002 I think, I entered my first French championship.
How did you like the competition?
I liked it a lot. It was like a game, a lot of fun! Then I met good friends to fly with, and we have fun together in every comp. It's a good adventure that we can share.
Before you became world champion, how were your results in competitions?
In the French nationals I've been 4th three times and one time 3rd. I'm better at international comps than in France! In France I'm more for the adventure; and with the French team we have a very good team spirit. We work for the team: if the group is strong we're individually strong –and we get good results.
Is the pilots' level high in the PPG competitions?
I have a short experience, I've only been to 3 international competitions, but I think the level is getting better and better. If more good paraglider pilots would fly paramotor the level would be much higher, because they start with a big advantage. I think all paraglider pilots should try it; they would be surprised at how much fun it is! Another good thing is that there's a very good spirit in the PPG competitions compared to paragliding comps, where everybody is more serious, more concentrated… In a day you can do maybe 3 or 4 tasks and they are all different. You never get bored!
Tell us about the gear you have been using –with which you took the world title…
I'm flying an Ozone Viper, which is a fast glider but very solid at speed, with trims open. I gave Ozone my feedback and opinion during the development and they tried to keep Ozone's signature in the handling –very agile and precise- with good performance and speed. So, it has a compromise between PPG and free flight, good for piloting. But it is not a glider for everybody, it has a good security level but it is very fast and it can dive quickly when you trim out. Ozone will sell it to confirmed PPG pilots, competition pilots. They will release a special PPG glider for a wider range of pilots, more commercial, called Roadster. Also with reflex profile, it is a new wing with a security level similar to the Rush's (DHV1-2) and a mix between a reflex and a free flight wing, with good handling. With Ozone we are trying to attract paraglider pilots to paramotoring, and for that you have to offer a feeling in the air that is similar to free flying.
And your paramotor?
How important is the gear for a good competition result?
I'd say that a 50% is in your mind, a 25% in the gear and a 25% is just luck. In competition the most important is to make no mistakes, to be cool.
What are your plans for this year: competitions, the European?
I have a PG school and I spend the season moving from one place to another to give advanced courses, and I give tandem flights in summer. This year I'd like to have more experience in more machines and do shows: Acro, fly with flags, balloon jumps with the glider, things like that. I'm not so much into competing, but I do want to go to the next Worlds in China, in 2007. I like my freedom…
Your last adventure took you to South Africa with the Ozone Team, how was that?
It was a very good experience and the people were great. The conditions were very strong for me but not for the locals, they said they were low! We were 15 people crossing the country, flying on the desert and some very good places for wagas. It was good fun!
Thank you, Mathieu. Is there anything else you want to add to this interview?
Yes, I want to say something about Johan Bossuyt (Belgian pilot who died recently). I didn't know him very well from the competitions but I had the chance to share with him in Korea and I had discovered that he would have become a very good friend. We'll all miss him.
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