Long Beach local wins the 2019 Red Bull Paper Wings championship in Austria
Growing up, paper airplanes was considered the best way to waste time in school. With a little bit of time and a blank sheet, the paper aviation world was at your own fingertips. While paper airplanes may be seen as just a simple classroom pastime, it has become more than that. Energy drink maker and extreme sports leader Red Bull is also the host of the International Paper Planes championship. Best of all, Long Beach is now home to the world paper airplane distance champion. Jake Hardy a Long Beach local won the distance competition after the sport found him
A random day at Long Beach State in 2015 found the sport calling him. The Red Bull tent was at the boardwalk and the red bull girls persuaded him to try it. They had him fold and then throw a paper airplane twice. After having two great throws they convinced him to come back the next day. Hardy a former baseball player at Wilson High School was just happy to throw for something. When asked about his natural ability to throw Hardy said “Baseball, that’s it.”
Jake was able to obtain the national record on only his third throw. He was informed by Red Bull that he could go to the world championships at their headquarters in Austria. Unfortunately Jake was disqualified due to his record breaking throw being his third throw (their official rules allow only two throws). Red Bull had to take someone who threw a plane that was nearly 20 feet shorter to the world championships that year.
After a three year hiatus from the niche community he realized he still wanted to throw paper planes. Red Bull then informed him of the ability to compete in some qualifiers. Jake was quick to smoke all of his competition and get the coveted spot on the plane to Austria after Red Bull gave him the all expense paid trip. Jake was wowed by the World Championship event. There was an opening ceremonies at an old castle in Salzburg, qualifying events, and tons of media there covering the event.
At Red Bull Headquarters he found all of the free energy drink he could ever want. Along the way he met some people who knew the sport more and gave him more tips and tricks for longer flight. Jake told us he traveled alone and left with many new friends around the globe. He entered the competition being a powerful new underdog. He smoked the competition and won gold in the distance category at the 2019 Paper Wings championships.
A huge day for Jake and a bigger day for the USA. For more info on this interesting story of Jake check out our interview with him on our podcast Shoot your Shot.