I am a glider pilot, and have watched others paraglide.
If there was a paragliding operation nearby I'd try it till I got one good enjoyable flight then I'd quit.
To me, there's too much risk in paragliding. The words "non-rigid" and "wing" do not belong in the same sentence, IMHO.
But it looks to be a real blast, and would be worth the risk to at least experience it once, IMHO.
We have a lot of former hang glider pilots in our glider club. Most enjoyed it a lot, but either got injured themselves, or saw a good friend or two get serious injuries. The big problem seems to be that your landing gear is your legs, and what is just a hard bounce on landing in a glider can be a pretty serious injury in a hang glider.
Paragliding is easier on the legs because you can land at a slower speed.
So, in summary, paragliding is a slower flight that really lets you enjoy the scenery and provides an easier landing, but you (or your instructor) really need to have the skills to redeploy the wing if it should fold up while airborne. Ironically, the sources of lift usually have turbulence associated with them, which can cause the wing to fold. Also the takeoffs can be challenging too. So there's a good amount of skill needed, and in the case of the folded wing, there's a lot of risk if you can't resolve the problem.
Hang gliding has a frame to keep the wing deployed so it's not as much an issue, but as I've mentioned, you are flying a bit faster than paragliding (due to the stall speed of the wing) so takeoffs and landings occur with more speed which means more risk.
Gliders fly a bit faster still due to the stall speed of the wing, but the wing is rigid, has much better performance, and you have a fuselage with landing gear to protect you. In a glider you can make much longer flights and IMHO it's a safer proposition all around. The negative (to some) is that you are enclosed in a fuselage with a canopy so it's not as raw or natural an experience as paragliding or hang gliding.
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Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
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