Paragliding has several disciplines that also have their own national and international competitions.
The classic XC (cross-country) competitions distinguish flatland and mountain championship. They usually consist of multiple tasks that take place on different days and/or places. You have to fly to a certain waypoint (GPS target), via a circuit where certain waypoints have to be flown over. Points are awarded on the basis of the time and/or distance realized.
The distances of a task are usually between 30 and 80 km, but there are big races, such as the Red Bull X-Alps. The assignment: >1000 kilometers; between the start in the Dachstein mountains in Austria and the finish in Monaco on the Mediterranean sea. Here lies a 20,000 euros in prize money waiting for the winner.
Another discipline is Acro. A paragliding pilot can perform unimaginable acrobatic maneuvers; from wing-overs where the pilot passes higher than the wing to full tumblings and figures in close formations with multiple wings. Again, there are competitions, in which pilots have to perform a number of mandatory figures, supplemented by a “free” program. A special “freestyle” variant is the Wagas festival in France on the Atlantic coast.
Most pilots, however, just want to enjoy flying in themselves.
There are a number of events and fairs where paragliding and other free flight practitioners come together, the most famous international event is without a doubt the Coupe Icare which continues in the French Alps.
In Austria there is an annual Testival that is becoming more and more successful.