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You Never Know

Klaudia Bulgakow - one of the best female paragliding pilots in the world - tells her story as a professional sportswoman in the documentary "You Never Know". Since 2012 Klaudia is part of the Zanier Athletics Team and in 2013 she won the Paragliding World Championship title.


"I love what I do. I want to do what I love."

Klaudia, born in Poland, was already fascinated by flying as a small child. At the age of 17, motorcycling was actually her great passion. In fact, her mother persuaded her to give up this dangerous hobby and start paragliding instead. However, the current world champion was anything but enthusiastic about her first tandem flight. As the film title says though - You never know! Later, Klaudia lost her heart completely to flying and realized her dream to successfully represent her home country Poland in big international competitions.

As a former ice skater and tennis player, Klaudia knows that hard training and stamina are necessary to become really good. To stay mentally fit is no less important for the outdoor enthusiast than physical training. "When you stay physically fit, your mind works harder and your concentration increases", says Klaudia.

To smell the clouds

Without training programs, coaches and mentors, Klaudia was on her own at the beginning of her aviation career. Through perseverance and commitment, she became one of the most successful pilots: European podium 2016, World Cup Superfinal podium 2018 and much more. In 2013, Klaudia even won the World Championship title, despite many difficulties. Her passion is to discover the world, and paragliding makes this possible. Klaudia uses the competitions around the globe to get to know new cultures and people.


The documentary „You Never Know“

In the documentary "You Never Know", which is released online on Reelhouse Wednesday, 27.05.2020, Klaudia takes us on her breathtaking adventures around the world - with a completely different perspective. This documentary shows the story of one of the most successful paragliding pilots this sport has ever seen. Klaudia’s career shows, that if you really want something, nobody can stop you. Despite difficult circumstances Klaudia became Paragliding World Champion in 2013. But for Klaudia neither podium places nor medals are the real goal. Progress, striving for personal development and to pursue dreams together with joy - these are Klaudia's life goals, which this documentary shows in breathtaking pictures. The film was already shown in cinemas around Europe.

Before the online-release of “You Never Know” we asked Klaudia a few questions about her passion paragliding and learned a lot about her unusual, likeable attitude to life.

Klaudia, what were the biggest challenges when shooting this documentary?

The first challenge was to find the right production team. I wanted the team to join this journey with me, and they should have no idea about flying. They should only get to know me and the sport through the shoot. A total of 6 people worked on the shoot in different phases of production. The cameraman was the only one who didn't get sick while flying and shooting. The sound operator was also a licensed drone pilot. Furthermore, the fact that the film crew never flew a paraglider became another challenge, as we had to work out work processes and safety measures first. As a result, we built up a great deal of trust, got along well and worked efficiently. The shooting was really fun.

For the perfect spots, the numerous competitions and your projects you constantly travel around the world. Do you sometimes miss your home?

I have been travelling very intensively since 2005; I spend a maximum of two months a year in Poland. Meanwhile I feel at home in many places around the world. I feel most at home in the Alps. In the Zugspitzarena (Tyrol, Austria) and Annecy (France). Also on the island La Reunion in Baixo Guando (Brazil) and Valle del Bravo (Mexico). So which home are we talking about exactly? Joking aside. Due to my constant travelling, it hasn't been worthwhile for me to have an apartment for years. This is exactly what I missed most - a home base. I have now found this home in Tyrol, and I realize how much it means to me.


Where does your impressive stamina and fighting spirit come from?

From passion. I love what I do. I want to do what I love. I always look ahead and learn from the past. I see challenges as something that I can learn from and that strengthens me. I love life and I want to live it fully. I always say "It's not over until it's over". That means: As long as I haven’t landed, I will fight to reach my goal. As long as I have strength, I will strive to fulfil my dreams. Whatever I have learned - sometimes it is also important to just let go and give things time. Some things happen by themselves. Problems are solved without having to do much. You also have to take time for regeneration, reorganisation and reflection.

Do you sometimes think about what it would have been like if you had stayed with motorcycling?

Actually never. But I would probably have become world champion in motorsport (laughs). Simply because I want to be as good as possible in everything I do. I am very competitive, which also means that I always want to get better. Taking part in competitions is the best school. You can see very quickly what progress you have made and what you still have to work on.

What are the best spots for you to paraglide?

This is a very difficult question. There are hardly any places where I have been and gotten the impression: "never again". I love flatland flying - I feel at home there. I also like the combination of flatland and mountains. I can think of regions like the Cauca Valley in Colombia, the region around Krusevo in Macedonia or Sopot in Bulgaria, also places with smaller hills like the southeast of Brazil. The mountains are something special for me, although I like the Alps the most. I simply cannot name a particular place, as there are so many.

What attracts you most to flying?

I suppose - like so many - freedom. As well as being completely in the moment, flying with birds, looking at the world from a different perspective, feeling the wind in your face. To smell the clouds, to fly with friends and to fly in the same direction with 120 other like-minded people, to turn the thermals together. To sit together afterwards and tell stories, to enjoy each other. The lessons I learn on every flight, the connection with nature and other people, that's what makes me excited about flying.

Klaudia lives her dream truly. Every day she is grateful for her lifestyle and the great people who became friends during her travels. Klaudia Bulgakow - an incredibly authentic athlete.

Photos: Jara Sijka