By Jaime Uranovsky
Not all 83-year-olds would choose to go paragliding off Signal Hill for their birthday celebration. Martin Margolius, however, is not your average 83-year-old.
“When you get to my age, people just think ‘well, this is it. You know, you must start taking it easy.’ But that’s not for me. I want to get back into things. I’m young at heart, so I decided [paragliding] will be the way I’ll start.”
Martin originally wanted to paraglide three years ago, on his 80th birthday, but was stalled by a knee injury and subsequent knee replacement. He did not let that hold him back though, and finally achieved his goal in April this year, just a few weeks after his 83rd birthday.
‘I thought that you jump off Signal Hill. You don’t. You actually glide off. You glide off with your, let’s say, pilot because… I did the tandem… The view is incredible. I wasn’t scared. I was more excited, but I told my children, “you must wait on the beachfront and hopefully I land. If I don’t land properly, you’ll meet me in hospital or, at the worst thing, you’ll come to my funeral.”’
When asked about the landing, Martin recounts, ‘I was a bit scared because I’ve had a knee replacement and that was my problem. I warned them about [it] but, when I landed, the pilot took the so-called ‘running along’ so that was quite okay. That was the only thing I was worried about.’
For Martin, there are plans to spend more time with his head literally in the clouds: ‘They said to me, when I’m 90, they’ll do a paragliding for me for free. So, we’ll see. I want to go skydiving. You know, that’s from a plane. That’s what I want to do next year.’
On the overall experience of paragliding, Martin had this to say: ‘My daughter, Hazel, came up to me and asked, “Did you enjoy it?” I said, “From what I can remember, it’s better than sex”’