Red Bull athletes Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna teamed up to take part in an exclusive one-off stunt to showcase the beautiful Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on Thursday.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Red Bull athletes Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna teamed up to take part in an exclusive one-off stunt to showcase the beautiful Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

And this performance didn’t just involve a typical paraglide. With the world-renowned Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah resort as a backdrop, Llorens and Goberna donned special paramotors to take to the sky, gliding between the Palm Fountain’s water jets that were so close that they could even feel them.

Hailing from Madrid, Llorens is an aerial legend — a five-time world champion and Infinity Tumbling Guinness World Record holder.

After starting acrobatic paragliding flying at an early age with his father, Brazilian native Goberna established himself as the country’s youngest-ever pilot, as well as one of the youngest pilots in the world.

In fact, Goberna, now 26, entered the Guinness World Records at only 12 years old.

The entire team worked tirelessly to be “fountain-ready”.
Image Credit: Supplied

“As soon as we got the opportunity, we wanted to fly there!” explained pro paragliding pilot, Llorens. “The ultimate challenge is that we were flying in the night, which means low visibility. Therefore, we needed to know the area really well beforehand. “Also, we needed to know how to ‘play’ with The Palm Fountain because this was new for us. And with such strong streams of water shooting up, 100 metres, we had to be really prepared!”

Llorens, along with fellow athlete and friend Goberna, had been discussing and practising the tricks and choreography for some time prior to arriving in Dubai. Once in the emirate, the duo — along with the entire project team — conducted trial runs in the Margham Desert in daylight for two days.

Adjusting to the climate

Paragliding with a paramotor is a complicated process and requires skill, patience and precise planning. What many extreme adventure and sporting fans might not know is that paramotors require to be adjusted according to the location they’re in.

“During training that’s when we were testing the paramotors, adjusting the gliders and the brakes,” continued Llorens. “Rafael [Goberna] did have a little problem with his motor.”

Goberna elaborated: “The motor wasn’t flying so good, because prior to arriving in Dubai, it was last used in Europe at high altitude. Therefore, I needed to adjust the carburettor in the air inside the motor. “In the first practice flight over the water, I broke one propeller. I really couldn’t understand what was happening. And then another one broke. Eventually, a back-up motor was required.”

Refusing to give up, the entire team worked tirelessly to be “fountain-ready” and show day — and the results, as showcased in the video, are spectacular.

“It was super nice for us to have finished for us this way — the process was definitely challenging from the very beginning,” concludes Goberna. “After a long journey, the result was beautiful! The team worked incredibly hard to make it.

“The highlight for me was playing between the super shooters with Rafael, because it’s something we’ve never done before; it felt really new and really powerful — with the water coming to our sides extremely high.”

Goberna added: “You feel the air coming up with the water — and the water splashing against your face because it’s so strong. It was such a nice experience.”

Safety and precision

As the film ‘The Breaking Pointe’ demonstrates, a lot of work went into the showcase. One of the most important aspects being learning how to navigate the Palm Fountain. With both sides having different choreography, Llorens and Goberna had to study the movement of the water with great precision in order not to get caught up in the jets of water.

“Obviously, safety is paramount, and there are a multitude of safety devices we use on paramotors,” explains Director of Safety, Alan Gates. “Each athlete used two parachute systems — the main which they fly normally. In the case of an emergency or when they have a technical issue, they would use a reserve parachute. When we’re flying over water, it’s also mandatory to wear a life jacket with automatic and manual inflation. We always have rescue boats, jet skis and divers. It’s important we have multiple teams for rescue and safety.”

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