Speed gliding victim remembered as expert parachutist - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Speed gliding victim remembered as expert parachutist

Evan Whitlock Evan Whitlock
Frank Hinshaw Frank Hinshaw
Pete Michelmore Pete Michelmore
Evan Whitlock Evan Whitlock

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

MOKULEIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Evan Whitlock of Waialua moved to Hawaii from the Pacific Northwest, he brought his sky diving talents with him.

"It was a beauty to watch him fly a canopy. He could get more distance out of a parachute than most people on a good day," said Frank Hinshaw, owner of Skydive Hawaii.

For the last five years Whitlock taught tandem sky diving at Skydive Hawaii, where he made more than 6,000 jumps. He competed in national sky diving events. His boss described him as an upbeat young man.

"Everybody has bad days. But Evan was one that would light up a room and be cheerful. He made the best of every situation," Hinshaw said.

Whitlock loved to travel and he loved extreme sports. He recently base jumped off a bridge in Idaho and had it videotaped.

Besides sky diving, he was also into speed gliding - a mini-version of para gliding where riders launch themselves off cliffs and ride the wind by maneuvering a small canopy.

Para gliding instructor Pete Michelmore of Gravity Hawaii knew Whitlock.  He said he was speed gliding off the Kauai's Na Pali coast when he was killed Saturday.

"If a para glider gets in trouble, or say a hang glider gets in trouble, we have a round reserve we can throw and bring us down. We can land in a field," Michelmore said.

Kauai officials said Whitlock's speed glider apparently malfunctioned and he fell 600 feet.

Speed gliders typically don't carry a spare parachute.

"It's much more dangerous than para gliding," Michelmore said.

Whitlock was 24 years old. The Kauai trip was to celebrate a friend's birthday.

"Evan was a young man who enjoyed life," Hinshaw said. "All his family and friends have lost a tremendously wonderful young person."

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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