July 15, 2024

Tarryn preparing for the paragliding session


Cape Town-based TV presenter, life coach and philanthropist Tarryn Tomlinson, took to the skies on October 5 2021 to launch Signal Hill’s first adaptive paragliding chair.  Tomlinson is currently a TV presenter on SABC 2’s Activated, where she promotes disability advocacy, awareness, and business development enterprises for disabled entrepreneurs.

“Paragliding is an extreme sport of flying parachutes with design modifications that enhance their gliding capabilities. Unlike hang gliders, their close relations, paragliders have no rigid framework; the parachute canopy acts as a wing and is constructed of fabric cells with openings at the front that allow them to be inflated by movement through the air—the ram-air effect.”

As per: https://www.britannica.com/sports/paragliding

The chair was imported from France, through Mathew van Zyl’s Square1Paragling initiative. Amy Sheldon, a wheelchair user who took part in a competition Tomlinson ran on her Instagram and Facebook pages, and got to participate during the launch. Sheldon, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and wheelchair user, was part of the first adaptive paragliding initiative for Square1Paragling. The competition was to award a wheelchair user with a chance of adventure by experiencing extreme sports, such as paragliding in a safe and adaptive manner. Sheldon mentioned before the take off to France24, “I am very nervous but yet very excited”


Before take-off, Tomlinson, was interviewed by France24 and said “I cannot wait to get up there and see Cape Town from above. I want to show persons with disabilities that you can do attempt greatness if you put your mind to it” said the 39-year-old Tomlinson before the chair took her up.

“Ultimately it’s your attitude that determines your altitude in life. Even persons with disabilities can get to the top of the mountain if we get the right help – people around us willing to assist. We can open up the whole [world] for people with disabilities to experience things,” said the former auditor, who has been living with rheumatoid arthritis since the  age of 18.


Tomlinson was transferred from her wheelchair and onto the adaptive paragliding chair. She was strapped in around her arms, waist and her legs were tied horizontally on the chair. Tomlinson, was the pushed towards the take-off area where Van Zyl, was harnessed to the back of the chair. The chair along with Van Zyl tied to it, was push off Signal Hill and the scenic views of Cape Town.

Van Zyl, who is an experienced and passionate paragliding pilot from Square1Paragliding, imported the chair from France. The chair is adapted to accommodate disabled individuals who would like to experience and partake in extreme sports.

Van Zyl said in his interview with France24 “the pilot is suspended in a seated harness and controls the wing via lines attached to the trailing edge of the paraglider. These lines may be operated individually to turn the paraglider or simultaneously to influence pitch and speed.”

Van Zyl told ThisAbility that the purpose of the initiative was to include persons with disabilities in extreme sports. “The chair has rugged wheels which allow the chair to tackle any terrain – the frame around the chair acts as a harness for your head and shoulders to be safe and in the right position. Or it could be used as a solo pilot for instance, if you would like to go flying by yourself,” he said.

Square1Paragliding has launched this resourceful tool to include individuals from any background, and physical capability.

The adaptive chair will cost up R3000.00 which includes images and a video. For more information. Visit: www.square1paragliding.co.za






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