Video: UAE athletes pull off daring stunt above world's largest fountain
The Red Bull athletes donned special paramotors for the feat, gliding so close to the Palm Fountain's water jets they could feel them.
Is anything — absolutely anything — possible? World-famous athletes Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna think so — and the duo recently chose Dubai to prove their point.
The feat? A daring, one-off stunt at the world's largest fountain — Palm Fountain at The Pointe in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
This was no typical paraglide either, as the Red Bull athletes donned special paramotors for the event, gliding so close to the Palm Fountain's water jets they could feel them.
For anyone presuming this was just a case of turning up and flying, think again. A newly released film demonstrates just what it took to plan a stunt of this nature — from pre-event training to engineering, intensive training sessions, and practising choreography.
“As soon as we got the opportunity, we wanted to fly there!” said pro paragliding pilot Llorens. “The ultimate challenge is that we were flying in the night, which means low visibility. Therefore, we needed to know the area really well beforehand.
“We also needed to know how to ‘play’ with The Palm Fountain," he added. "With such strong streams of water shooting up — 100 metres is a lot! — we had to be really prepared.”
Preparing for the big night
Paragliding with a paramotor is a complicated process and requires skill, patience and very precise planning. The duo conducted multiple trial runs in the Margham Desert during the day after their arrival in Dubai.
There were several hiccups and obstacles — like when Goberna faced issues with his equipment.
“I broke a propeller during the first practice flight over the water," he explained. "I couldn’t understand what was happening. And then another one broke. Eventually, a back-up motor was required.”
Refusing to give up, the entire team worked tirelessly to be “fountain-ready” — and the results, as showcased in the video, are spectacular.
With both sides of the Palm Fountain having different choreography, Llorens and Goberna had to study the movement of the water with great precision in order not to get caught up in the jets of water.
“Obviously, safety is paramount, and there are a multitude of safety devices we use on paramotors,” explained Alan Gates, Director of Safety. “Each athlete used two parachute systems. When flying over water, it’s also mandatory to wear a life jacket with automatic and manual inflation. We always have rescue boats, jet skis and divers… it’s important we have multiple teams for rescue and safety.”
The process was definitely challenging from the beginning, according to Goberna. But they're all thrilled with their success.
“The highlight for me was playing between the fountain's super shooters with Rafael," he said. "It felt really new and powerful with the water coming to our sides extremely high.
“It was super nice for us to have finished this way," he summed up. "After a long journey, the result was beautiful."
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