By Steve Hubrecht
Local paraglider and realtor ‘Flying’ Max Powers soared to a bit of national television fame recently with an appearance on the hit show the Amazing Race Canada.
Earlier this past August, Max was in the fifth episode of season eight of the show. With the episode titled ‘I’m a Human Kite’ and Max’s background as a paraglider, it should come as no surprise that Max was featured in the show as tandem paraglider pilot.
Parts of the episode were shot in and around the Okanagan, and the most dramatic moment of the show saw the contestants in Lumby, taking off on tandem paraglider flights along with pilots. Viewers here in the Columbia Valley may have been startled to recognize the pilot (Is that Flying Max?) taking the first contestant up in the air, before landing and then passing the next clue on to the participant. Viewers would have been startled because Max’s appearance on the Amazing Race Canada was a secret he kept under tight wraps for months.
“I got a phone call in May, saying ‘they need tandem pilots, they pay very well and you have to keep your mouth shut.’ So I said ‘okay’,” said Max. “They really did want to keep it hush-hush, but that was no problem for me.”
Max headed out to the Okanagan for filming, which he said was fairly straightforward.
“All I had to was take the leader of the pack for a flight. I did a spin, landed, passed them the next clue, and that was it,” he said. “It was fun to see the hype and the production around it, but I don’t watch much television myself, so I didn’t realize the magnitude of the show I’d just been on.”
He got a note and paycheque later, saying the show would air in August. And it did, on Aug. 9.
“All of a sudden, people started coming up to me, saying ‘hey, I saw you on the Amazing Race.’ The reaction was quite interesting, because it made me realize just what a fanbase the show has, and that being on the Amazing Race was a bigger deal than I had thought at first,” said Max.
Lumby is known across B.C. as a great spot for flying, but when ‘I’m a Human Kite’ was filmed the weather was sketchy (“a lot of wind and a frontal system,” explained Max), so the filming crew scrapped their first choice and moved to a different location.
“But the regular flying spot in Lumby is very nice and quite popular. It’s very mellow with an easy, grassy takeoff,” said Max.