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DVD - Pura Vida Flying

by GW Meadows

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Pura Vida Flying

DVD - Pura Vida Flying

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Pura Vida Flying

by GW Meadows

Three pilots, one jungle, no rules...

Join Bo Hagewood, Kari Castle and the late, great, Chris Muller on their exploration of the untapped potential of Costa Rica.

Pura Vida is a laid-back road trip film following their adventures as they hang glide and paraglide around this Caribbean paradise.


Review by Lawrence Wallman

One of the most user-friendly of the new HG/PG videos (also accessible entertainment for friends and family members) is Pura Vida Flying, produced by Lone Palm Motion Pictures, written and directed by G. W. Meadows.

GW disposes us to make believe that Chris “International Man of Mystery” Muller invites HG/PG champ Kari (more endearing than mysterious) Castle and HG champ Bo (totally non-mysterious but endearing to All Heck and Back) Hagewood to join him on an impromptu holiday on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica for some relief from the winter doldrums. Chris phones Bo in the middle of the cold, dark, night; a clever resolving scene at the film’s end leaves you wishing that Mystery Man had phoned you too.

Each action chapter of the film is preceded by reflective individual commentary from screen-friendly Kari, Chris, and Bo. Kari’s personality shines and she decorates her excitement with some Down Under lingo (experienced OZ flyer that she is). All three have real “Down Home” personalities (and regional accents) so the viewer feels warm and comfortable in their presence. We share in their daily activities over three weeks.

Typically, they surf in the morning just outside the door of their rented beach-house. In the afternoon it’s paragliding or hang gliding, followed by sunset surfing. Or, create your own permutation on this theme, adding the following to the mix: kite surfing, sunset paramotoring on the beach, riding upon old-fashioned “shuttles” to launch, hiking, waterfall swimming, encountering fellow-hikers who shame us in their load-carrying capacity, dual HG aero-towing followed by dual HG spins to the beach, and more. In other words, it’s live-away adventure camp for outdoors enthusiasts, especially pilots.

There is an interchange of mentorship between the three who, naturally, manifest different levels of experience and skill in the wide variety of sport activities. For instance, Bo has more surfing experience (he’s “maybe slightly below average”); he shows them some smooth moves on the water (and rues that Kari, an extreme newbie, picks it up so quickly). Chris does exceptional aerobatic stuff on both wings throughout.

We share in the excitement of dramatic stunts like Chris “D-bagging” from the Dragonfly’s strut. D-bagging infuses a PG launch with something special: a vertical plummet is required to unfold the wing! Warning: sweaty palms may result from viewing him hanging in mid-air from the D-bag apparatus---especially as he’s done this only once before and it’s his FIRST wing pack! At the same time Bo is on HG tow attached to same plane!

On the dual-tow, following Chris and Bo’s pin-off we see overhead footage of….a TRIO of aircraft spinning to the beach; it’s now Chris, Bo, and tow-pilot Rhett Radford, who flat-spins the Dragonfly for endless rounds and then follows up with a loop over the landing area! Watch for special footage of Rhett’s prowess, shot from a unique perspective.

Bo short-packed his Aeros Discus, owing to a 3-piece leading edge and 3-piece crossbar, into a surfboard bag for easy airplane transport.
Kari, Bo, and Chris fly their hang gliders smoothly and are obviously enjoying the spectacular scenery below (“glowing green”, says Kari), whether ridge soaring or thermalling over mountains. The cinematography (G. W. Meadows) and photography (Jeff O’Brien) is innovative, especially the circling shots of the three hang gliders, themselves turning and circling one another, enhancing the 3-dimensional fascination (like those models that portray planetary rotation and revolution about one another) of viewing flying objects, all immersed within a great musical cloud. Inspires!

There is a candid scene of the three pilots launching paragliders from a “challenging” hill-top with mixed results, showing us their pluck and determination (stubbornness?), especially Bo’s. Respect! Even the camera man joins the effort, and a laughing dog provides comic relief. Our compulsion to fly (and reluctance to hike down) does sometimes inspire the launch technique.

Pura Vida is Spanish for “Pure Life” but has particular resonance and extended meaning in Costa Rican--Tico--culture; you’ll understand the origin of the film’s title during a night scene out on the town.

The music, composed and selected by GW, contributes richly to the mood of this film. The bands Weszt and Fighting Gravity are featured, as well as compelling drum rhythms by Gabrielle Roth. Listen for GW’s soundtrack compositions; I particularly liked the tube-rider music behind the surfing footage, a nod to the Surfaris.

Other extras include a cameo appearance by a genuinely mysterious “facilitator”, David Glover, and a beach serenade by the crooner John Borton.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Pura Vida Flying holiday.

Lawrence (aka “Mister Goodlaunch”) is a biwingual pilot. He and his comely assistant, Mrs. Goodlaunch, run a very small school in Seattle, Goodlaunch Paragliding, You can critique this review by contacting him at

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