The Paragliding World Cup has a new video and reporting team on site in Turkey. Zion Susanno, 25, and Beth Sillince, 28, have been filming, interviewing and instagramming the whole week. We found out more about them.
Zion, Beth, thanks for taking the time. Where are you from and where do you live?
Zion: Costa Rica born and raised, living in Rivas, the best spot for XC in Costa Rica.
Beth: Originally from England but I now live in Costa Rica with Zion.
Outside of filming for the PWC, what do you do?
Zion: I founded Zion Paragliding in 2016 which is a paragliding school in Costa Rica. We also offer different tours and clinics around the world for pilots as well as giving tourists in Costa Rica a taste of free flight with amazing tandem flights over the beach.
Beth: I support Zion with all that he does, he likes to think he’s in charge but really I’m the boss.
How, when and where did you get into flying?
Zion: I was 15 when I moved back to Costa Rica after spending my last seven years living in Patagonia snowboarding a lot! Surf wasn’t cutting it, so my mum took me on a five-day paragliding course at a ridge soaring site in Costa Rica. I learnt on a 600-hour glider that only flew left and after the course that was it: I flew off anything and everything I found in my town which is in Rivas. I did it all wrong in the beginning, I didn’t even know thermals existed. It was a trial and error process to discover what real flying is. That’s why I teach the way I do, to make sure pilots don’t make the same mistakes and take risks like I did.
Beth: Zion was my instructor, we knew each other through a mutual friend before that and when I was travelling through South America he asked if I wanted to learn to fly in Iquique where he was running a course. On my first flight he guided me off the small hill Palo Buque, which is about 200m, to cloudbase at 1,000m. After that the rest is history, I just hope he doesn’t date all his students.
What do you fly?
Zion: For competing I fly the Gin Boomerang 12 with the Genie Race 4. It’s a really awesome set up. But when I’m guiding with students I fly my U-Turn Morpheus with the Supair Acro 4, it glides the same as a Calypso and I can heli with it whilst waiting for students to climb up to me.
Beth: I have a Gin Camino and Genie Lite 3. It’s a really nice glider and I feel great under it. I just took it out over the lake in Garda to stall it for my first time and that was a lot of fun.
Favourite flying site?
Zion: It has to be my home flying site of Los Indios in Rivas, it has so much untapped potential for XC and is a real hidden gem. I’d love some company there to fly new lines, there’s so much to be discovered.
Beth: I have to say the same as Zion, there’s nothing like a magic summer day in Rivas. It’s great flying for beginners wanting to get to learn about mountain flying, those that want to do a short but sweet 50km triangle or those that want to send it.
Best flying memory?
Zion: My first thought was it’s all I’ve been doing forever and just flying is all I can remember but I love doing Helis in thermals.
Beth: So many good ones it’s hard to choose. Doing my first 100km was pretty sweet, I did that on a trip back to Iquique. Coming around the final ridge and seeing the city was just such an awesome feeling of accomplishment.
Seriously, filming the PWC and travelling the world… dream gig! How did you land that one?
Zion: We’ve always been on it with my Instagram and trying to provide high quality content that’s engaging for pilots. Beth usually is the one filming me and editing it and we come up with the ideas together. She did a really great job at the Superfinal letting my followers know what was happening and maybe they saw that and liked it
Beth: It seems like a bit of a whirlwind but what Zion said, we’ve been consistent with his Instagram for years and it seems to be paying off. We’re on a trial here in Turkey so let’s see what the committee thinks and if it all goes well you might see more of us at other Paragliding World Cups.
What’s been the best bit about filming the PWC in Turkey so far?
Zion: To film it you have to make goal, so that’s a bit of motivation for me to stick with the leaders but it takes quite a lot of extra mental energy to be able to do it and compete. Luckily I’ve been doing it on my courses for ever and stoking students and clients out with epic pics and footage so I’m used to flying around with no hands.
Beth: It’s been fun to talk to all the pilots and get to know them. I was a bit shy at first but anyone who knows me will know I don’t stop talking once you get me started. Part of our coverage is me doing a live chat show on take-off and interviewing pilots with cool stories. I wasn’t sure about being in front of the camera but it’s actually super fun!
What’s the next stop? We heard you were off to the Worlds in Argentina…
Zion: That’s the plan, I’m the only pilot representing Costa Rica so got to go and do that. Between Turkey and Argentina I’m looking forward to some down time in Costa Rica and hanging out at my place. We planted 40 different varieties of fruit trees so you can walk through the property and eat something from almost any tree.
Beth: It’s been a crazy summer of comps and European adventures. I’m looking forward to cuddling my dog and diving into the river at the bottom of the garden.
When not flying I love to… (in 25 words or less)
Zion: All I do is fly. On days off from tandems and teaching I go to fly. And on days off from flying I still seem to go flying.
Beth: I do all sorts but I got back into painting recently and I’m really loving that.
Message to PWC fans out there?
Zion: If you want to fly in a World Cup, it’s possible, I did it with little to no support and with enough drive anyone can too.
Beth: I hope you’re enjoying the coverage and it gives you a flavour of what goes on at a PWC. If there’s ever one near you definitely go to the take-off and check out what happens. There’s a lot more waiting around than you might expect but come and chat with one of us and ask us any questions.
Find the Paragliding World Cup at pwca.org