WHO IS THAT PILOT?
My name is Luke de Weert and I am a professional paragliding pilot from the Netherlands. I started paragliding when I was fourteen years old on the beach close to my home in Alkmaar. Starting on the beach defined my flying style and passion for the sport. Because I was always flying close to the ground it made me use my imagination and creativity to fly in a relatively small playground. This resulted in me learning a lot about the gliders and some smaller tricks that have set my foundation to fly acro in the mountains.
WHAT MAKES HIM HAPPY?
It will sound really cliché, but it is freedom. Paragliding allowed me to have an extra dimension in my life. Instead of going left, right, forward and backwards, it gave me the possibility to move in every possible direction. Paragliding brings you back to nature and makes you think about nothing else except flying. All the stress and worries in life fade away and you are in the moment. Paragliding has also given me a purpose in life. I am a very passionate and disciplined person for success in my paragliding career and life. I want to achieve all my goals and dreams. The journey and reaching those goals give me so much motivation and energy which is the most addictive drug for me. It is my driving force and I love this natural and passionate feeling. A place that gives me this feeling the most must be Organya in Spain. The amount of hours flying in nice and warm weather where I can fully focus on training and developing myself as a person and pilot gives me this peace in life. Although Oludeniz in Turkey is also a place close to my heart for similar reasons. Mostly the view over the ocean at the end of the day makes you appreciate life more than ever.
SINCE WHEN DO YOU FLY?
My story started before I was even born. My parents went to Switzerland and my father got inspired by paragliding pilots in the mountains. He started paragliding four years later and shortly after he took me with him in multiple tandem flights to show me the beauty of the sport. I got interested in the sport when I turned fourteen. I don't know what happened in my mind but from that moment my life changed. Because my father was a pilot himself, he taught me all the foundations I needed to know. This helped me progress faster than an average pilot would and it gave me the possibility to do my first SAT just half a year later. The better I got, the more time I wanted to invest in my future and my career. A never ending cycle/story/journey.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL OR ACHIEVEMENTS IN PG?
As a little kid who just started paragliding, my dream was to become a professional paragliding pilot. I knew that it was going to be hard because of the country I live in (for the people who don't know, the Netherlands doesn’t have mountains). I basically always have to travel if I wanted to train more acro. This was quite hard because I was still young and couldn't travel alone. So I had set my goal to reach the top 5 in the world. This sounded realistic to me and something I could achieve. What I didn't expect is that during my first time participating in the Acro World Tour, I would finish fifth! This was an eye opener for me. Basically, my dreams just became so much bigger than I had ever thought was possible. I wanted more. Covid-19 has paused the competition scene for one year and this gave me the possibility to train more than I ever could and gave me the advantage that I was always lacking because of the country I live in. My progression went through the roof. My trainings were super efficient and I managed to learn a lot of new tricks that year. Even the legendary Horacio Llorens told me that he had never seen a progression this fast in one year. When 2021 came around I could finally show what I had in possession. I competed in my first World Championships and proudly finished in third place. At the same time, I finished the Acro World Tour in second place. What was just a dream for me as a little kid just became a reality that year. But there is still a lot more to achieve so the story will keep on going for many more years.
THE BEST FLYING MOMENTS?
It's hard to say one best moment because there are so many. The one that keeps coming back is the second you take off. The moment you take off and feel the pressure in the brakes and the feeling that you're flying is just unimaginable. This feeling never gets old.
Another memorable moment is when I finished fifth in the AWT. Because from this moment my dreams became bigger than ever. From that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I want to live my life. It was the moment I knew I was going all in. No plan B.