Jan Minnaar, is the Chief flying Instructor, and proprietor of Cloudbase Paragliding School, and has been paragliding since April 1991.
He learnt to fly in Cape Town with Daedalus Paragliding under the instructorship of Kobus Botha and Springbok Parachutist and multiple National Paragliding Champion, Jay van Deventer.
In April 1992 Jan; Julian Herbstein and Anthony Allen started as assistant instructors with Jay and Jan took over the day to day running of Daedalus Paragliding. In February 1993 he received his instructor rating. During this time Daedalus saw good growth and organized many popular flyaway weekends to Wilderness.
In July 1993 Jay and Jan, (as team assistant) were in the South African National team at the Paragliding World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland.
Jan spent a further 2 months in Germany and Switzerland flying and seeing how European schools operated. He also attended a safety course and experienced tow launching from a static winch.
On his return he was offered the position of factory manager at Fun 2 Fly Paragliders in Durban. Together with Herbert Forsthofer, the factory expanded and moved premises.
In October 1994 Jan was elected on to the SAHPA executive committee. This position enabled him to pursue his ideals of safety in paragliding. Jan loved teaching, and so CLOUDBASE PARAGLIDING School was established. As Jan worked in the Fun 2 Fly factory, so teaching was a weekend passion only and this saw the foothills of Eshowe bedecked with paragliders. His commitment to his Cape Town students saw him commuting every 3 months to Wilderness. After 18 months Fun 2 Fly was growing rapidly and new partners were brought in. So Jan made a decision to base himself in Wilderness, where the training conditions were consistently safe, and run the school full time.
Jan set up premises in the Garden Route Town of Wilderness, including an informal Bed & Breakfast. The camaraderie has become legendary. The combination of personal attention, learning experience and fun times when not flyable, ensured steady growth of the school.
In August 1996 the first Alpine Tour was organized, visiting the Austrian Alps and Switzerland. This has become an annual event and has resulted in increased reciprocal visits by foreign pilots. To facilitate this Jan started a new division, CLOUDBASE TOURS.
Jan was the first professional full time school to be based in the Garden Route. During his travels abroad he actively raised awareness of the opportunities available as a paragliding destination.
From October 1994 until June 2006, Jan was elected to the executive committee of SAHPA, and in this time held the position of National Licensing and Safety Officer for 3 years, was vice chairman and also the Eastern Cape representative. Jan served for 12 years consecutively.
In November 2004 Jan was given the prestigious Gold Wings Award from the Aero Club of South Africa. The Gold Wings Award is for "his significant contribution to Sport Aviation in South Africa".
In June 2005 Jan completed his powered paragliding license and in February 2006 obtained his Powered Paragliding Instructor rating. In 2005 Jan started competeing internationally and has competed in at least 2 European competitions a year. In 2011 Jan again was a member of the South African team at the World Championships in Spain, and again in 2013 in Bulgaria. And is currently 11th in South Africa.
Khobi-Jane Bowden became an integral part of Cloudbase Paragliding in May 2002.
Khobi’s passion for paragliding started in 1999 in Venezuela whilst on a sailing vacation with her Dad. On returning to London she signed up with a school to continue paragliding. Unfortunately it was also at the time of Foot and Mouth disease and very few British schools could operate. This was followed by a long period of bad weather.
In April 2001 she came to Cloudbase for a 2 week holiday and to complete her paragliding course.
Prior to joining Cloudbase, Khobi ran a small restaurant in a marina on St Lucia in the Caribbean. She has 2 university degrees and her last career before being a paragliding instructor was as an IT project manager for a major private investment bank in London.
With her love for cooking and her restaurant skills, Cloudbase Paragliding is now able to offer gourmet meals, in Wilderness and on the “Smile while You Scream !” and ‘Ski Fly’ Alpine tours!!
After a 3 year apprenticeship as an assistant instructor, Khobi received her instructors rating in November 2005. Her thorough training method is reflected in her love for paragliding and people.
Khobi is a skilled competition pilot and was in the running for the SA National team in 2007. At the time being a full time instructor meant that she could not attend the competitions that took place during the height of our summer season.
In February 2007 Khobi received her Tandem rating.
Khobi also just missed being in the SA National team in 2009 as again the crucial rounds of the SA Paragliding cup took place during our peak season.
We decided that Khobi should attend as many competitons as possible. If you read our news page you will realise that this led to Khobi winning the Ladies Championship in 2009, and the Sports Class for the SA Cup.
Khobi retained the South African Ladies Championship for 2010, as well as being The Pre PWC Wine Lands Open Ladies Champion,Khobi was 3rd lady in the PreWorld Championship in Piedrahita, Spain.
Khobi then respresented South Africa at the 2011 Paraglding World Championship in Peidrahita.She is also the first female to be in the top 10 ranked pilots in South Africa in the World Paragliding Ranking System.
She retained the South African Ladies Championship for 2011, as well as being The Pre PWC Wine Lands Open Ladies Champion, and was 1st Lady in the Pre World Championships in Bulgaria.
Khobi also attained her Tandem Flight Instructor rating in December 2011, and was the first commercial female tandem pilot in South Africa.
Once again, Khobi retained the South African Ladies Championship for 2012,2013 and 2014, and also represented South Africa in the Protea Team in Bulgaria for 2013 World Championships, and Colombia for the 2015 World Championships.