Back in 19… Actually, we have no clue when we officially formed the first soaring club. What we have been able to nail down is that it happened sometime in the mid-’70s. We choose 1975 because it has a good ring to it.
Now, back to the sordid story that was our insemination…
The West Coast Soaring Club (WCSC) traces its roots to a ragtag bunch of free-flight pioneers bound together by their passion for getting high (in the sky) in the mid-’70s. These formative early years saw a variety of clubs merge and diverge across the lower mainland. Although the finer details are hard to pin down, the WCSC genesis is generally traced as a split from the West Coast Hang Gliding Association calling itself the Fraser Valley Hang Gliding Club. That club eventually grew to include Vancouver and in the early ’80s changed its name to Vancouver and Fraser Valley Hang Gliding Club.
Sometime in 1986 Paragliding entered the scene (invented primarily as a decent tool for extreme mountaineers), a new group of free flyers began forming. Max De Jong was one of the first paragliding pilots in the area and created what some Hang Gliding pilots refer to as the Renegade BC Paragliding Club. Initially, the paragliding community was made up of people that lived the extreme mountain lifestyle, mostly climbers. They were the type to brag about how many bones they have broken and named launches after prescription pain medication.
However, the new wave of Paraglider pilots was growing fast and encroaching on the local Hang Gliding establishment. Eventually, the age-old ethos of ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’ was adopted. In 1991, Martin Henry along with a few others started a process to merge the ego’s and created some letter driven representation of the activity that finally morphed into the West Coast Soaring Club aka WCSC.
Photo Credits: 1970’s Martin Reichenbach Hang Glider flying Grouse Mountain and 1980’s Kevin Ault Launching his Paraglider
Our mission is to create safe places for free flight pilots to launch and land. To encourage education, training and community support to nurture novice pilots into master pilots. To develop sustainable environmental improvements in the communities where we live, work and play. We believe passionately in travel, good food, great friends, long talks, broadened horizons and the spirit of adventure.
(We are also 100% positive the world would be a better place if everyone spent a bit of time flying like a bird)
Passion: We pour passion into our community and into our flying, because when we do we create more value for the people in our community. Passion breeds, happiness, enthusiasm, positive thinking and teamwork.
Service: We believe in servant leadership. We have succeeded as an organization because we have acted in service to each other and the communities we operate in. We offer help when needed and do the work others are unwilling to do.
Who's running the show?
West Coast Soaring Club members are the ones who really form this wonderful community of free flyers! But beholden to the members are volunteers who serve as Directors and Volunteer Chairs. Our Volunteer Chairs oversee and maintain launches across the Lower Mainland and up to Pemberton, as well as maintain the web stuff and organize comps.
Our passion for free-flight inherently values a close connection with nature. The WCSC’s commitment to responsible use and protection of the natural environment is key to our sport’s viability and maintaining our land use agreements with the many municipalities, private landowners, and Crown Land Tenures that our members benefit from. As a shared responsibility, our ethos is embodied in the Environmental Impact Assessment of Paragliding and Hang Gliding commissioned by the British Columbia Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BCHPA) in partnership with our national association, the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC). This document assessed four diverse sites in BC and became a key reference in the BCHPA’s and HPAC’s approach to Parks Canada to allow the sport in National Parks and guides the WCSC’s approach to environmental stewardship at the local level. To learn more, please reference the report above and contact us for additional information.