Richi Mantilla


Born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Richi’s love of the outdoors and sports began at a young age. He camped and explored South America, excelled in soccer and all outdoor sports. In 1994 he had the opportunity to take his first tandem paragliding flight and he was hooked right away. After that experience of free flight he knew he had found his passion and promptly enrolled in classes to become a pilot. Finding himself addicted to the sport, he flew nearly every day in his native Colombia. When he returned to the US in 1999 to live in the San Francisco Bay Area he quickly became involved with the local paragliders. He began flying the many West Coast sites and exploring all the National Parks and natural wonders that California and neighboring states have to offer. He took his flight training a step further when he became a USHPA certified T3 tandem instructor pilot so that he could share the experience of flight with others. His adventurous spirit and love of nature and the outdoors led him to the decision to start a business based on his dreams and to share that dream with everybody. His tandem company in the USA realised another dream and Richi started his paragliding tour company in 2001 taking pilots to visit flight sites all over the west offering guiding, camping, transport and food. He was very successful and pilots asked him to take the Instructor course. He got his instructor license in 2004, before going back to his native country for personal reasons. He decided to stay in his home town of Bucaramanga and set up his business there. Within a month, he had his first groups of pilots and his business started growing. He then started a paragliding hostel, then with a back-packer's hostel and offering courses to all the travellers around Colombia. The school proved very popular with foreigners and now has more than 850 students from all over the world, teaching in English. Between 2012 and 2013, Richi travelled South America by motorcycle for a year, flying and promoting his company and school. In 2014 he decided to travel to the great continent of Europe and of course make his dream of going to the Coupe Icare and meet Bruce Goldsmith, the designer of his first wing – an Airwave Reggae. He met Bruce and Arna and told them about his company, Colombia Paragliding. They introduced him to Christoph and Richi became the Colombian BGD dealer and flying a BASE. He bought 2 WASPs and today the whole school have BGD wings, with very happy customers and buyers. His flying projects are to keep dealing with BGD wings, growing his school and keep travelling and flying forever. Also, his tours around Colombia are very popular right now and getting more year by year.


  • Age : 56
  • Flying since : 1994
  • Current kit : BGD Punk M, Dual
  • Top sites : Chicamocha Canyon, Santander, Colombia Ruitoque, Floridablanca, Santander, Colombia Piedechinche, Valle del Cauca, Colombia Lots of places in Colombia Olüdeniz, Turkey Dolomites, Italy Alaska, USA
  • Gig : Paragliding Instructor
  • Activities : Paragliding forever !
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