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Five go parasailing in Paihia

Adventurous retirees set the pace with parasailing

Five thrill-seeking retirees from Jane Mander Retirement Village are to be touted as parasailing poster girls to encourage more people of a mature age to give adrenaline activities a go.

The five ladies – Jean Bruerton, Anne Allen, Margaret Kernot, Joy Norrish and Hazel Griffith - popped up to Paihia for the afternoon from Whangarei last week so they could soar 300m in the air from the back of a boat.

The conditions were perfect on the day with calm waters and a bit of cloud cover offering some respite from the heatwave.

The ladies paired up to be clipped into harnesses, life jackets and helmets before shuffling on their bottoms on​​to the back of the boat where they were then attached to the giant orange smiley-face parachute.

Once they were secured, the boat accelerated and they quickly floated off high into the sky until they were just tiny specks in the distance.

Mitch from Flying Kiwi Parasail helps Hazel  and Michael buckle up for the next ride while Joy and Margaret float high above them.

After they floated back to earth buzzing with excitement from the 10 minute flight, Flying Kiwi Parasail skipper Felix said the footage would be a great way to widen the appeal of parasailing.

“The Bay of Islands is a popular cruise ship destination and there are always a lot of older people on board who come ashore. They see there is parasailing on offer but they always think they are too old to do it.

“These ladies having such a great time will be an awesome way to show that you are never too old to give parasailing a go!”

And ‘awesome’ was certainly the sentiment when the five came back down to earth.

About to set off from the village, with a second van load of support crew!

Team Jane Mander about to go for the ride of a lifetime!

Hazel, 78, who paired up with Activities Coordinator Michael Davies for her ride, was the first to sign up for the trip and inspired the others to join up too.

“It was wonderful. The time went so quickly I wish I could have stayed up there for longer.

“It just felt like you were floating on air,” she said, adding that it was a first for her family.

“I have got grandsons in their teens and none of them have done it, so I have beaten the grandchildren!”

Hazel gives the thumbs up, smiling and ready for the off.

Up, up and away!

And back with a bump - phew!

Margaret Kernot, 81, said she loved every minute of it and would definitely do it again.

“The adrenaline surge was a real thrill, as I knew it would be. You need that in life every now and then.”

Margaret’s parasailing partner, Joy Norrish, also 81, said the feeling she had being that high in the air was incredulity.

“You get up there and you’re like, what am I doing up here?!” she laughed.

Joy and Margaret paired up for parasailing, even in matching colours!

Off they go!

Northern Advocate journalist Peter de Graaf gets photos of the pair.

Back on the boat, Margaret's loving the buzz!

The trip was particularly special for Joy and Jean Bruerton, 78, who have both suffered from strokes in the past.

“I wanted to have an adventure!” Jean said. “I think you need adventures in your life for stimulation.”

Reality sinks in for Jean and Anne as they are about to lift off!

And they're off! What a rush!

Happy to be back on the boat after a thrilling flight.

Jean and her parasailing partner Anne Allen, 80, decided to go first so that their nerves wouldn’t get the better of them and cause them to change their minds.

Anne had originally gone along as a spectator but decided to have a go at the last minute.

“I’m a wuss normally, I never do this sort of thing. I’m glad I went first because I didn’t know we were going to go so high.”

Jean agreed: “It was pretty scary and I wish I had taken a painkiller for my hip beforehand. But I am glad I did it.”

Asked whether they would do it again both replied pretty definitively: “Nope! Been there done that!”

Back on the boat, but still feeling the buzz!

However, for their fellow residents at Jane Mander, there will be another chance to go parasailing in a couple of weeks.

Activities Coordinator Michael Davies is organising a second trip as some of the original group had to pull out to attend the memorial of a popular resident in the village.

Michael said the popularity of the parasailing trip confirmed what he had already suspected when he originally floated the idea.

“Your sense of adventure isn’t restricted by your age,” he said. “The only problem we’ve got now is what are we going to do next!”


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