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Above it All

It turns out flying is possible, after all.


Yasushi Kobayashi

This month, Josh Cohn will spend two weeks soaring above the mountains near Piedrahita, Spain, trusting his life to a few strings and a 30-by-5-foot piece of cloth. Darting between plumes of rising air called thermals, Cohn will guide a paraglider an average of 55 miles a day, following a course of landmarks such as mountains, road junctions, and towns, with the hopes of winning the World Paragliding Championship.

Cohn, 38, is the top paraglider in America and is ranked 25th in the world by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The El Cerrito resident won the Paragliding World Cup in Chelan, Washington, last summer and was only the second American to do so in the specialized sport, which is normally dominated by Europeans. “There are certain people who need to fly,” Cohn says. “It’s dangerous, expensive, and time consuming. But amazing.”

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