Squirrel BASE Equipment merges with Asylum Designs 12/26/2016
It’s all coming together. We’re excited to announce the merger of Squirrel BASE Equipment & Asylum Designs. Martin Tilley has joined the Squirrel Team as Manager of BASE Equipment production and BASE Education, and the two companies are now in a fully collaborative effort on R&D, product design, production, and training. Marty’s career in BASE manufacturing and rigging spans three decades and he brings deep experience and a more traditional outlook on equipment design and construction to the Squirrel team. Squirrel’s innovative push into BASE equipment has been one of the most potent developments in the BASE industry to date. Combining our forces will transform the Squirrel range, increase the availability of Asylum equipment and set the foundation for a new education program that services jumpers from FJC level to advanced WS BASE techniques.
The CRUX harness/container system will be the first product released from this new collaboration. The CRUX is an all-around versatile container system that is designed for all types of BASE jumping, from no-slider jumps to wingsuit BASE and everything in between. It will be available to order in the first weeks of 2017.
The Squirrel and Asylum merger creates the largest R&D Team in the sport. Martin Tilley will now oversee all BASE products for both companies. BASE equipment will be co-designed and developed by Martin, Will Kitto, and Simon Perriard, aided by Matt Gerdes and Mike Steen. Squirrel team pilots and test jumpers – the biggest team in the industry – will continue to give critical feedback on all products.
Squirrel wingsuit management, design, and production, remains unchanged. The merger affects only Squirrel BASE harness/container systems, parachutes, and accessories.
Matt G: “I started jumping Asylum gear in 2004, and what I noticed first was Marty’s eagerness to support jumpers, and his attention to detail not only in his equipment but also in the way he interacted with me and others. Every conversation we had about anything related to BASE was in depth and showed a level of care and attention that cannot be found anywhere else. He goes out of his way to inform people and when you see someone with an Asylum container on their back, oftentimes it’s a safe assumption that they’re “in the know”. Asylum isn’t exactly underground, but almost kind of is – the people who have been jumping his gear for years are generally the most experienced and the most dedicated in our sport. I still have my Perigee Pro and Profile harness/containers, and I will never sell them”.
Mike Steen: “Marty is known for being obsessed with the details of gear and rigging, but also with creating informed BASE jumpers. He goes above and beyond with every customer interaction, and it shows in the people who use his gear. His harness/containers are famous for being the most polished and the most finely finished pieces of equipment in BASE. We’re looking forward to having his influence on all of our BASE equipment.
Martin Tilley: "I’ve known and worked with Matt for over ten years and I’ve been watching Squirrel’s progress very closely since 2012. Squirrel has become known for fresh ideas, excellent service, and fast delivery times, and their growth has been interesting to observe. In some ways, our approaches to the sport couldn’t be more different, but in many other ways they are perfectly aligned and run parallel to each other. Each brand fills gaps in the other brand’s mission, and together, complete, we are going to have a lot more to offer to our customers and friends. Today’s BASE world is much different than the years of past, with an increased volume of jumpers, access, sites and equipment choice. I have witnessed the expansion for all the good reasons, as well as seen what distilled knowledge enables. This decision to combine our talents arrives at a time when it is most needed. Our goals are many, but our priority is the safety and function of equipment and generating a consensus of increased education and heightened participant performance."
Squirrel Pilots Sweep 2016 Red Bull ACES 11/24/2016
Congrats to Noah Bahnson, Will Kitto, and Andy Farrington, who shared this year’s Aces podium. The 2016 championships wrapped up with an all Squirrel podium, an All Squirrel top 8, and 15 out of the top 16 pilots flying Squirrel. The C-RACE was by far the dominant choice of the competition.
Here at Squirrel we have worked hard to provide our team pilots with the best tools for the job, whether it’s a competition or just a raging freestyle flight. The performance of our wingsuits speaks for itself, but we work equally hard on improving comfort and ease of use across our range.
We’d like to send out a heartfelt thanks to all of the pilots who continue to support us on this journey, it is our honor to be able to support them in turn. Here’s to many more years of hard work and dedication!
- 1st. Noah Bahnson, USA
- 2nd. Will Kitto, USA
- 3rd. Andy Farrington, USA
- 4th. Sebastian Alvarez, CHI
- 5th. Matt Gerdes, USA
- 6th. Chris Geiler, Australia
- 7th. Todd Davis, USA
- 8th. Mike Steen, USA
Chris is World Champion! Espen takes Bronze. 11/08/2016
The first ever FAI World Championships of Performance Flying have wrapped up in Florida, with Squirrel team pilot, Chris Geiler, taking home the gold. Espen Fadness took bronze, and both flew their CR+ to the podium. Chris led the competion from the first round to the last, and finished with a whopping ten point lead over second place. Five of the top ten pilots flew the Squirrel CR+ in the event.
Team USA deserves special mention for having every member in the top quarter of the field. Full results can be seen here.
Five World Records in Chicago 10/26/2016
Joe Ridler and Alexey Galda had an epic weekend, both flying their Squirrel CR+. The duo set five world records in one day. Joe set three world records, two of which were eclipsed by last load:
- PPC world record in Speed (350.3 km/h, eclipsed)
- PPC world record in Distance (5605m, eclipsed)
- PPC world record in Speed (374.8 km/h)
Alexey set two world records, both of which stand now:
- PPC world record in Distance (5996m)
- Guinness world record: fastest (horizontal) speed achieved in a wingsuit (the exact value to be confirmed by an independent timing specialist, to be ratified)
When we talk about open records such as these, it’s unfair to do so without mentioning an obvious major factor, which is: conditions. Wingsuit record chasing in its current form is a game of training, equipment, budgets, and… conditions. Whether pilots are searching for open distance, PPC distance or time, or any form of speed, wind conditions are a large part of the results. In short: yes, of course these results were achieved in wind. But one should never underestimate the difficulty and risk that are inherent in executing a performance flight in such challenging conditions, and the training and planning that are necessary. In our opinion these results are highly commendable.
We would like to send a hearty congratulations to the intrepid duo, from all the team at Squirrel!
SQUIRREL PILOTS SWEEP WWL 10/17/2016
Huge congrats to Squirrel Team Pilots Vincent “Le Blond” Descols, Carson Klein, and Graham Dickinson, who swept the WWL Podium in China. Vince, smooth and fast, is always a safe bet for the top of the podium. Carson manages to get off the couch and fly faster than just about everyone, every time. And Graham is a phenom who we will hopefully see much more from in the future. Rex Pemberton took 4th, also flying his C-RACE, which he received just before the race. We’d also like to thank all of the Squirrel pilots who made the trip over there - China is not all fun and games and we appreciate you making the effort. We're very thankful to be working with y'all!
Squirrel pilots have won every major wingsuit race of the past two years, including ACES 2014 & 2015, 2016 US Nationals, Wings Over Marl, Wings For Love 2016, the 2016 WOWS Events at Chicago and Kapowsin, and WWL 2015. So there you go.
Cheers, from all the Team.
Squirrel Pilots Win at Wings For Love 10/02/2016
The 2016 WFL World Cup event saw C-Race pilots dominate the speed task, and Squirrel Team Pilot Vincent Descols’ Team France take first place overall. Congrats to Team France and everyone who took part in what was reported to be a very positive event with a bright future. If you haven’t yet seen Noah Bahnson and Julian Boulle’s Freak flight through the gorge, check it out here.
The Speed Task times were as follows:
- 1st: Noah Bahnson 29.24 / C-Race
- 2nd: Vincent Descols 29.52 / C-Race
- 3rd: Mael Baguet 30.18 / C-Race
- 4th: Espen Fadness 30.20
- 5th: Mathew Leroux 30.21 C-Race
- 6th: Graham Dickinson / 30.23 C-Race
Alexey and Chris Win US Nationals 08/26/2016
Huge congratulations to Alexey Galda and Chris Geiler who took Gold and Silver respectively at the 2016 US National Championships of Wingsuit Flying (Performance). Alexey and Chris flew their Squirrel CR+ suits to victory. Third place went to Travis Mickle, who was not flying Squirrel for some reason.
- 1st: Alexey Galda (Squirrel CR+)
- 2nd: Chris Geiler (Squirrel CR+)
- 4th: Kristian Szcepitko (Squirrel CR+)
- 5th: Joe Ridler (Squirrel CR+)
- 6th: Max Lesziak (Squirrel CR+)
- 7th: (in a tie with A. Zerbonia) Jason Bresson (Squirrel CR+)
All of the above Squirrel pilots (except for Max, who is a Canadian person eh) will be included in the US Parachute Team competing at the World Championships in November. We wish them luck!
Full results can be seen here.
Ulf and Dawid win Wings Over Marl 08/22/2016
Congrats to Ulf Menkdal and Dawid Winczewski who took Gold and Silver respectively at the Wings Over Marl PPC event, both flying the CR+. Ulf won the speed round handily, with CR+ pilots placing high in speed and distance across the rankings. Of special mention was Tanya Barkhuus, who took 5th overall flying her C-Race, coming off of her recent Danish Nationals win and her overall time world record.
Full results can be seen here.
WIDE OPEN WINGSUIT SERIES 08/09/2016
This year a new format of wingsuit competition has launched. The Wide Open Wingsuit Series (WOWS) is a 4-cross event with pilots racing head to head. Each competition has two events: Speed and Distance. This year two regional qualifiers have already been held, the most recent being at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. The CSC event wrapped up with Keith Forsyth in first place for Speed (flying his C-Race), and Alexey Galda taking first in the Distance event (flying his CR+). There was a $2,200 prize purse, plus trophies and swag.
The WOWS mission is to increase skill, experience, and camaraderie in the wingsuit world. This is an event created by pilots, for pilots. The organization is not-for-profit and the event exists only for people who want to fly their wingsuits better, together with friends. It is an open event, which anyone may register for.
To learn how the race works, watch this video.
The next regional qualifier is now full, and there are limited slots available for the championship event at Perris, CA, in November. More events will be announced soon for winter 2017. To register, visit www.wingsuitrace.org.
Tanya Barkhuus Sets World Record with C-Race 08/08/2016
Congrats to Tanya Barkhuus who just set a new world record for Time at the Danish National PPC event, where she also took first place overall. Tanya is flying her C-Race, and had two consecutive runs of over 88 seconds in the competition window. Tanya just received her new competition suit and has only 15 jumps on it. She says that the C-Race feels smooth and low-drag, with amazing energy retention and flare for maximizing time in the competition window. Full results can be seen here.
Gigantic Slalom 05/02/2016
This winter the Squirrel team headed to Chamonix for a little slalom action. We built a series of 12m (40’) tall pylons, skied them onto the face below the Brevent exit, and sessioned the course for couple of days. It was a fun learning experience for all of us who set, maintained, and flew the course. For the pilots, it added an exciting new element to wingsuit terrain flying. Banking turns around the pylons and setting up our line for the downslope gates was a fantastic new way to experience a mountain that most of us had flown many times before. This probably won’t be the last time that the Squirrel pylons are deployed. Stay tuned for more, and we hope to see you out there. Cheers, from all the Team.
Backcountry DZ: The Glacier 04/11/2016
We went to ze Alps and set up a private pop-up Dropzone deep in the Massif du Mt Blanc. Huge thanks to the team: Julian Boulle, Micah Couch, Dave Reader, Max Haim, Mike Swanson, Jon Devore, Scotty Bob, Will Kitto, Mike Steen, and Matt Gerdes, Noah Bahnson, Shayni Couch, Roch Malnuit, and Pascal of CMBH. It was a mind-bending day on the glacier. We hope that the feeling of being there can be at least partially transmitted to you electronically, but would prefer it if you could come and fly with us one day.
Steve, Chris, and Joe, on Performance Podiums 02/23/2016
Two comps wrapped up this week, with Squirrel pilots standing on the podium again. Steve Holden took gold at the Australian National Championships. In Steve’s words: “The C-RACE is a machine! I still don't feel like I'm flying it anywhere near its potential, or even consistently for that matter, but it just performs anyway. I can't wait to keep learning on it and really figuring things out and see what I can get from it in future!”
At the Z-Hills Performance Cup, Chris Geiler and Joe Ridler took silver and bronze, respectively. Chris was just two points behind the venerable Spike Harper, a veteran of the PPC comp format. Honorable mention also goes to Todd Davis, who worked his way up to 5th after a rough start.
Congrats to everyone, and thanks so much for flying Squirrel! Cheers, from all the team.
Squirrel Pilots Sweep RedBull ACES 10/26/2015
Congratulations to Squirrel Team Pilot, Andy Farrington, who remains the undefeated champion of RedBull ACES, the world’s most dynamic and challenging wingsuit race. In second place was Noah Bahnson, flying his Squirrel C-RACE. In third and fourth were Matt Gerdes, and Scott “Plamer” Palmer. The final round was 100% Squirrel, with Andy, Noah, and Matt all using the EPICENE as well.
At the event, 28 out of the 40 invited pilots and 6 out of the top 8 were flying Squirrel (mostly the C-RACE). This represents a sea change from the 2014 ACES, when about one-third of the invited pilots flew Squirrel. Over the past year, a striking majority of the world’s best pilots have chosen to fly Squirrel. The Squirrel EPICENE was by far the most prevalent parachute at the event.
In any competition, technicalities, chance, and random factors contribute to the end result. Throughout the practice heats and all of the competition rounds, one thing seemed consistent: the C-RACE was the fastest wingsuit in the event, which is in line with our testing over the past few months and also the competition results at the WWL and US Wingsuit Nationals events.
We are very grateful to be able to equip so many of the world’s best pilots. Our range is in constant development, and we will continue to strive to improve every aspect of our products. We look forward to the future, and to flying with you all for many years to come. Thank you for flying Squirrel!
Noah and Julian Win with C-RACE in China 10/18/2015
At the China wingsuit thingy, Noah Bahnson and Julian Boulle each beat their way through multiple heats to end up racing each other in the overall final. Noah edged out Julian by a hair, and they took first and second overall flying the Squirrel C-RACE. We’d like to send a huge thanks and congratulations to them both, as well as Carson Klein, Mike Swanson, Sebastian Alvarez, and Vincent Descols who all flew the C-RACE in the event.
BACKCOUNTRY DROPZONE: Chamonix 10/15/2015
Recently we visited Chamonix and did a little flying with the FREAK. Freestyle wingsuit flying in big mountains is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to have a suit with the range and power to move around and actually fly from point A to point B. The FREAK delivers in this respect – it is agile and playful, yet has the glide performance that you need to get to where you’re going.
Podium Finish for Noah and Chris at US Nationals 10/05/2015
Big congrats to Noah Bahnson, and Chris Geiler, who took second and third overall at the US National Championships. Noah and Chris were both flying the Squirrel C-RACE. Noah received his C-RACE in Chicago during the competition and put approximately zero practice jumps on it before winning the first speed round and immediately moving to the top of the ranking, where he stayed until the formidable Mr. Mickle unseated him by only three-tenths of a point. It is also worth pointing out that Noah led the winning acrobatics team - a feat that speaks to his seemingly limitless talent in a wingsuit.
Honorable mention goes to Todd Davis and Per Bjorn Poulsen, both PPC newcomers, who made the top ten overall flying their C-RACEs.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the C-RACE in these early stages. As the sea-change continues in wingsuit competition, our early supporters are valued highly.
SPIRIT ANIMAL 09/15/2015
The Squirrel Team recently worked on a short art film. It may contain, apparently, relevant metaphors, the relevance and meaning of which are left to the viewer to interpret – as with anything else that has ever been called art.
The C-RACE is designed for all aspects of competition flying: It is in between the Aura 2 and Colugo 2 in terms of surface area. Its CG and profile are optimized for speed and the suit is stable at steep angles of attack. In addition to its proven speed stats, the efficiency of the leading edge and the amount of surface area yields excellent performance in distance and time tasks. You can read the content on the C-RACE page if you are interested. Please note that no further details on the suit will be shared at this time.
KEEP CALM AND FREAK OUT 07/18/2015
This is not your average acro suit... The FREAK is a powerful high-performance freestyle/acro wingsuit designed for pilots of intermediate ability and up. Our mission for the FREAK was to create a suit with an incredibly high level of agility and ease of use, yet with enough power and glide performance for high speed formation flights and technical wingsuit BASE jumps. The FREAK is the ultimate dropzone toy, and also a powerful tool for expert wingsuit BASE jumpers who want to take big mountain freestyle flying to the next level. The video is here, and the order form is here.
We took a little trip north this summer with some of our friends. Thanks to Scotty, Mike Swanson, and Joe Engel for helping us out with the logistics. Our friend Karl Steslicke came along and dealt with mosquitoes and 21 hours of bright-as-hell sunlight per day to work the camera. Andy Farrington managed to get 32hrs of free time and he came up to join us for a few jumps. Joe Engel let us jump his truck off-road and party with dirty strangers in his house while he was out of town. And Steen kept the company running by emailing our customers from the sandy banks of a huge Alaskan river. In this video we are flying the A2, C2, and a new prototype that is called the FREAK – more news on that, soon! Watch the video here.
THE kN 05/22/2015
The kN is our everyday, all-objects, standard BASE container system. With a 3-ring release system, dynamic corners, stainless hardware, and a sleek lightweight design, the kN is equally at home on urban missions, cliff sites, and everything in between. Our mission was to create a comfortable, clean, simple, and dependable system for jumpers of all skill levels and experience. This harness is now available to order, please visit the kN page for more info.
Wear an AURA 04/29/2015
This shirt is not just for pilots of the AURA series. If you like pretty colors and the idea of flying, then this shirt is for you! Check it out…
A Pocket-Sized Lightweight Stache Bag 04/18/2015
The idea behind the Pocket Stache was to create something that was affordable, comfortable, and fit in your pocket. With padded straps, one single exterior pocket, and a very light and packable material, the Pocket Stache is a simple solution for shorter hikes and urban jumps. This is not a highly durable bag, but we do think that no one will object to the super awesome price. This is our bag of choice for any jump that doesn’t involve a long hike. For more info, check out the Pocket-Stache page.
Hatch Fun 04/16/2015
While the BASE jumping season warms up in the northern hemisphere, our friends are keeping busy in the sky. Some of us are racking up airtime on the new AURA 2 in preparation for summer, and others, such as Alex Aimard, Petter Jonsson, Scott "Plamer" Palmer, and Carlos Briceno, have been playing around with the HATCH. These guys say the HATCH is a fun tool for wingsuit freeflying, and based on the video we have seen so far, they’re right. We’ll be releasing more footage of these shenanigans in early summer. Until then, enjoy your spring!
AURA 2 IN PRODUCTION 03/31/2015
The A2 is now in production. Video can be seen here.
The design mission for the A2 has been to create a suit that current AURA pilots will recognize and feel at-home in, but with improved glide characteristics and increased efficiency. The A2 is not larger than the original AURA in total surface area. It has a redesigned leg wing profile and volume change, a new leading edge design, an evolved arm wing profile, and many updated features to enhance comfort and durability on the suit. Our focus was on reducing drag and increasing efficiency - we did not increase the surface area. Our team pilots have been commenting on how "smooth" it feels when pulling out of a dive, and how the suit’s range is increased with a less physical feel on longer flights and an even more precise feel in carving turns. Click here for more info.
THE NEW OUTLAW 03/03/2015
The Outlaw enters production this week, with the first canopies shipping before the end of March. We're very excited about this new canopy, and we tried to describe all of its features as thoroughly as possible on the OUTLAW page. For those of you who want even more, here's the backstory on this new canopy:
The Outlaw is the brain child of Simon Perriard, who is the newest member of the Squirrel R&D Team. Simon is a BASE jumper from Switzerland. He is a brilliant guy with a very open mind when it comes to designing canopies, and (like with our engineers from Ozone Paragliders) he has a vast amount of aerodynamic experience in paragliders which is very useful when applied to parachutes. He has had the Outlaw design concept working for several years now, and has been working on it since before Squirrel existed. We are very happy that Simon decided to collaborate with Squirrel to get his baby into production. From the beginning we were stoked on the concept, and although the parachute was "nearly finished" as early as 2012, it has taken us this long to get it to market. The last two years were spent getting the pattern to the point that our production facility liked it, getting the design polished to the point that our team pilots liked it, and putting in the test jumps needed to ensure that the concept was sound and solid and did what we wanted it to do.
The testing process was interesting – this canopy is more complicated than the IBEX or any other parachute we have jumped. We wanted something that worked well for a wide range of people at a wide range of objects. BASE jumping now includes a very wide range of situations - it's not just "slider-up or slider-down" any more. Jumpers these days, especially in the US, are going for low freefall objects and technical LZs (just like we always have) but then putting on a wide range of tracking and wingsuits and heading to the Alps (kind of like we always have, but with a wider variation in gear). There is no one magic parachute, but if you configure the slider brake (see the manual) correctly and use the right PC and deploy it responsibly, then we think it performs very well overall.
Simon is super keen on safety and a lot of the new features on this canopy are the result of that mentality. We would not say that the Outlaw is safer than other canopies, that would not be true at all, but we do think that it has great pitch stability, handling, and deep brake behavior, as well as improved slow speed handling (rapid heading changes in deep brakes) compared to other canopies we have flown.
The principle difference between the IBEX and the OUTLAW is that the IBEX is designed specifically for wingsuit and tracking use. It is the lightest and lowest-bulk parachute we make, so if those are your priorities, go for the IBEX. If you want something more versatile and don't mind it being a tad heavier, then we recommend the OUTLAW.
Squirrel Pilots Win in Australia 02/01/2015
We'd like to send out a huge congrats to Chris Byrnes, Jason Dodunski, and Tahi Paul Munroe, who took the podium at the Australian Performance Race. Chris Byrnes took first overall, flying his C2. He had this to say of the suit, and the race:
"I've done 53 jumps in my Colugo 2 now and I love it. It was a really nice transition from the Swift to the Colugo 2. I've used the Colugo 2 for everything from big suit flocking to performance competitions, wingsuit rodeos, cloud carving and even some head down free-flying. I find it has amazing forward speed at the right angle of attack, but it has so much range that I can out float larger suits such as the A__, V___ P___ and R___2.
I used my Colugo 2 in the 2015 Australian Wingsuit Performance Race today and I got first place! It was awesome to see the Squirrel suits do well, Auras came 2nd and 3rd but they couldn't match the Colugo 2. Check out the leaderboard."
Nic work Chris, and thanks!
Cheers, from all the Squirrel Team.
Epicene: More Info 12/09/2014
This short video explains some of the benefits to the new Epicene, as told by professional canopy pilots Luke Aikins, Andy Farrington, and Jeffro Provenzano. This new canopy provides wingsuit pilots with a stable and dependable platform for wingsuit skydiving. The Epicene’s stable and highly consistent openings, combined with an ultra-low pack volume, make it the ultimate tool for wingsuit skydiving. More info can be found on the Epicene product page.
Our New Snatch 11/19/2014
Not all pilot chutes are created equal. The new Squirrel Snatch represents what we think is a significant step forward in pilot chute design. We have provided a great deal of information about this new product on its page, and also in the new video – if you are interested, please read the info carefully and check out the short video to get a better understanding of how exactly the Snatch is not just another BASE PC.
Classic Squirrel T – In Black 11/13/2014
We did a small run of classic Squirrel T-shirts, with a black logo. Men’s M, L, and XL sizes are available now. We may or may not re-order these, which means we’ll run out soon, which means this is like a limited edition or whatever fancy thing we should call it. Anyway, click here if you want one. This is a slim-fitting American Apparel 50/50 blend. If you like a more traditional fit, order one size larger than normal.
C2 Video 10/13/2014
A few people have told us that winning competition results, incredible reviews, and impressive performance stats are not enough – what they need to see is video. So we rounded up GoPro footage of recent C2 action and synced it to some super-sweet-techno-beats, just for you. Here is our first short C2 video. Cheers, from all the Team!
ZAK: A Brief Interview 10/09/2014
Recently this video of ZAK started making the rounds. It seems to have created a bit of a stir, online. Zak Tessier is a bit of an odd duck - if you have hung out much in Lodi, CA, or Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, then you’ve probably met him - living out of a van, living to jump – and you probably sensed his intense dedication to our sport, and for pushing himself to a higher level each day. His raw, frothy passion for BASE is almost freakish, and can make a normally passionate jumper feel somewhat lame and part-time by comparison.
If you’re seeing him for the first time in this whacky video, then there are a couple of things you need to know: First, Zak has built these tricks on a foundation of fifteen years of freeflying experience and 8,681 skydives. He has 1,568 BASE jumps and just this year alone he has completed almost 800 BASE jumps in the US and Europe, the vast majority of them being wingsuit BASE jumps in the Alps. He is at a level of practice, currency, and dedication that very few people on planet earth have ever achieved in wingsuit BASE jumping.
MG: So you spent all summer jumping your ass off in the Alps… where do you live in the winter?
ZT: Honestly, I shed a tear when I think about this. I'm not willing to share, because the USA is not a free land, and wing suit mountaineering is considered illegal from nearly all the ideal mountains.
MG: You seem incredibly comfortable in a wingsuit, any wingsuit. How did you get to this point?
ZT: Jumping lots of different suits over the years, everything I could get my hands on, that fit me. Playing hard in the sky, carving around tandems on my back head low, lots of XRW, aerials in everything even if it didn't work at first.
MG: Is BASE jumping still exciting for you after all of these years?
ZT: Absolutely, flying my Aura is what I get out of bed for at this time in my life. BASE has many aspects; I did four hundred slider-down jumps in my first year of BASE jumping because that's what was nearby. Now I move with the seasons so that I can fly mountains daily.
MG: Are these maneuvers just the natural progression of you needing to be challenged and excited by BASE?
ZT: Yes, I tell myself the challenge is to be better than I was yesterday at everything in life.
MG: If we assume that some idiots are likely to see this video and then try it themselves before they are ready to, then do you think that you are putting some idiots in danger by doing this?
ZT: No. If someone chooses to try something because they saw it on video and then dies, we can give them a Darwin Award. What you see me doing took some practice. Ask yourself, “Can I do xyz maneuver into a pool?” Then do it a lot, then do it in the sky if you can, then slider down if it'll go that way, then maybe in your track suit, then 1000 times in your mind… that's how I think of it.
MG: Ok, fair enough. One selfish question: Why did you choose to fly the Aura?
ZT: I love how it flies, for me it starts better than anything else which allows me to be higher and dive more on everything. That makes me feel safer, I like that feeling when I'm flying.
New Suits 10/02/2014
The end of summer brought a couple of fun new suits into our range. The COLUGO 2 is our newest intermediate-advanced level wingsuit. It is now getting rave reviews from pilots around the world who are telling us that it feels and flies like a little suit, but has the performance of an advanced suit. The C2 is easy to fly, with short grippers and a very “light” feel in the arms, and speed that has to be experienced to be believed.
The HATCH is our answer to pilots who want the absolute maximum in comfort and ease of use, while still retaining a fun amount of performance and range for flocking, back-flying, and all-around fun-carving. We’re very excited about this new design and we’re confident that it’s destined to be a classic. Select Squirrel coaches now have HATCH demos available.
Squirrel School! 10/02/2014
We are very excited to announce the launch of our new coaches page, which will help connect pilots and instructors around the world. All of the coaches listed on this page are using instruction techniques and a syllabus that is endorsed by Squirrel. If you’re looking for a First Flight Course, or you want to take your wingsuit technique to the next level by learning to back-fly, carve steeper turns, or even get into wingsuit BASE jumping, you can find a Squirrel coach who will be happy to help you to improve your flying. Get one-on-one coaching from some of the best wingsuit pilots in the world. Click here to check it out.
Andy Wins RedBull Aces 07/20/2014
We'd like to send out a huge congratulations to Squirrel Team Pilot, Andy Farrington, who took 1st place at the inaugural RedBull Aces event flying his Squirrel proto. Almost 20 Squirrel team pilots participated in this event, and Squirrel suits took first overall and saw many pilots in the final rounds and top eight places. The RedBull Aces Event is the most exciting wingsuit race on the planet, and is the only race in which pilots fly head-to-head through a course that is at safe skydiving altitudes. It is by far the most exciting, most competitive, and probably the safest event in wingsuit flying. Why aren't all competition formats like this? The answer is simple: Wingsuit BASE race events are comparatively cheap and easy to organize. The Aces event takes wingsuit racing to the next level, and RedBull is the only company that has so far been willing to take a risk of this magnitude to bring a genuinely fascinating and legitimate wingsuit competition into the public eye.
At the event the majority of Squirrel pilots flew the new Colugo 2, which is in its final revision and will be available to order soon. There are a few key innovations in this wingsuit that have not been seen before, including mini-ribs at the leading edge of the arm wing which create the smoothest forward-chord section ever seen on a wingsuit, a stiff / slick / wrinkle-resistant Dacron coated leading edge material, super-low-drag arm wing inlets, and an advanced profile developed specifically for speed and stability at steep angles of attack. We delivered the Colugo 2 to most of our team pilots on Friday, and Tuesday morning they were racing them in head to head heats, and winning. A huge thank you to all of the pilots who trusted us and were patient with us during the development of this exciting new design.
Squirrel Welcomes New Friends 07/02/2014
Recently we have had the honor of adding a few of the world’s leading BASE jumpers to our team. It has been very exciting for us to watch our equipment be adopted by so many awesome pilots, and we are proud to be able to support them. We would like to welcome some of the biggest names in the sport: Mauri, Simon, Olek, and Steph. Check them out, here. Cheers, and thanks for flying Squirrel!
AURA 2014 06/13/2014
The Aura has rapidly become the most popular wingsuit amongst the world's leading BASE jumpers. Check out this video to learn a bit about what current Aura pilots think of it. In the past year, more new exits and lines of flight have been opened with the Aura than with any other suit, and for 2014, the AURA is the optimum choice for serious wingsuit BASE jumpers. The Aura offers the fastest start, cleanest pull, and widest stable glide range of any other suit in the BASE environment. Get-a more-a AURA info, here.
GET FUNKY 05/23/2014
The FUNK is now in production and we are accepting orders for pilots of all shapes and sizes. If you're thinking of getting Funky this summer, our advice is not to wait. At the moment, our lead times are the longest they have been in our history, and although we are adding people to our wingsuit production group and hoping to keep them reasonable, there is a chance they will increase. Fair warning.
In the meantime, if this video doesn't convince you that you need some kind of freestyle-fun wingsuit in your quiver, then we don't know what will! Check it out: http://vimeo.com/flysquirrel/funk
Cheers, from all the Team.
Get Stached 05/15/2014
The new Squirrel STACHE is, we think, the ideal wingsuit BASE stash-bag. It's has all the features that we need, with nothing we don't, and the design focuses on a small folded-volume so when you put it away for the jump down, you won't have any problems fitting it inside your wingsuit. It comes in two versions, and we recommend the 'Still-Pretty-Light' version for most jumpers. The 'Ultra-Light' version is made of 40D ripstop and although it is highly packable and only 300g, it is only suitable for careful and occasional use. For more info, check out the STACHE page.
IBEX: Video 05/15/2014
The IBEX has launched into the wild. The second half of this video discusses some of the IBEX's features. Check it out if you'd like to learn more.
The new IBEX is now in production. Our quest for the perfect wingsuit and tracking canopy has now come to an end... actually that's not true; we will never stop R&D, but we are excited to release the IBEX and love the way this canopy performs in a wide variety of conditions. This new canopy is lightweight and low-bulk, designed to fit into modern low-profile containers such as the STRONGLITE. It is equipped with two standard Mini-Vents, which we think provide just the right amount of push during the opening sequence and make this a highly versatile canopy. For more info, please check out the Equipment section of the site.
Aurora Australis 03/16/2014
Check out Alex Duncan flying his new Cloud-Lite Aura around New Zealand. This is without question some of the nicest terrain we have ever seen anyone fly through, and we love Alex's smooth style, set to relaxed tunes. It's a good one: https://vimeo.com/88979477
LEO's SUMO 03/12/2014
Our friend Leo just sent us this video of his first few jumps with his SUMO. He reports that the suit feels intuitive to control, and making it out to the road was pretty easy.
We have to admit that this is pretty impressive for the very first jumps... Video here.
Sumo Video Is Live 03/06/2014
Initial feedback on our new tracking suit is overwhelmingly positive and we are very excited to have it in general production at this time, with the first orders shipping out in the next two weeks. We have just set the SUMO video live, check it out: http://vimeo.com/flysquirrel/sumo
Cheers, from all the Squirrel Team
Don't Freak Out 02/22/2014
The new Stronglite will be available to order soon. We have released a short video which discusses some of its features, and it also features our beloved gimp. Check it out here. We will begin production on the Stronglite on March, and we expect to be able to provide short delays from order to shipping, with the first orders being shipped in April. Stay tuned for more news.
SUMO Now Available to Order 02/13/2014
Our new tracking suit, the SUMO, is now available to order. This new design has a few key features to increase inflation speed and precision in the track. For more information please visit the SUMO page. The SUMO is now in production and we are taking orders here on the site and via our dealers. We will be posting more photos and video soon.
Over the past year we have tested a wide variety of lightweight cloth applications for our wingsuits. We have finally decided to release the new CLOUD-LITE cloth, which can be ordered as an option on any of our suits. A suit ordered with this option will be built with ultra-light ribs as well, and when you order a CLOUD-LITE suit you will be able to choose custom rib colors ' the ribs are slightly visible through the main surfaces. For more information, go to http://squirrel.ws/cloud-lite
Check out the 2014 Collection 01/08/2014
We have added a few more items to our apparel lineup for this year, including two different men's hoodies and a women's tank top. Some items are currently pre-order, and others are in stock. Check it out, at http://squirrel.ws/store
Learning to Fly, with the SWIFT 12/28/2013
Congrats again to Eliza Alexandra, who won the Super Swift Stitch Sweepstakes! She joined us in Perris, CA, for a free First Flight Course, which of course she completed wearing her free custom Swift. Here's a short video showing her first few wingsuit flights. Click here for the video.
20 Minutes of Wingsuit BASE 12/13/2013
This is a long one, so sit down, crack a beer, and relax for a tour of some of the best wingsuit BASE jumps in the Alps. Although we will be the first to admit that the Alps have without question the highest concentration of quality wingsuit BASE jumping in the world, we are also very excited about all of the new wingsuit exits that are being opened across the American West by some of our friends in Squirrel suits. This year more wingsuit exits were opened in the US than in all previous years combined! Anyway, back to the Alps... This video shares the name of many of the exit points, and we wholeheartedly agree with 'open source' wingsuit BASE videos. Fly responsibly, and if you wish to support Scotty Bob in his efforts to progress our sport, drop him a line on facebook or whatever.
Here's the vid: https://vimeo.com/81628333
A Real American Wingsuit Hero 11/27/2013
Squirrel team pilot, Robert "Scotty-Bob" Morgan, has been tearing around the world this year opening new wingsuit exits not only in the Alps, but also across the American West. While we can't post all of his video of all of his conquests here for various technical reasons, we are happy to report that his latest opening is at a perfectly legal zone in Moab, UT. Check out his forward facing video of the first wingsuit jump to ever go down in slider-down-town, USA. (photo by David CL). Click here for the video.
The New Swift: Video 11/26/2013
If you haven't seen it already, check out this short clip of the Swift in action. We're very excited about our latest suit, and the first wave of feedback from around the world has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of its launch! Click here for the video.
The Squirrel Super Swift Stitch Sweepstakes 11/01/2013
With a guess of 13,902 stitches, Eliza Alexandra, of Romania, comes closest to the 14,021 stitches on the suit ' congrats, Eliza! She'll be joining us in Perris, CA, in December, for an all-expense paid wingsuit adventure!
Thanks so much to everyone who entered. We enjoyed reading your answers, and really appreciate your participation.
Stay tuned for more news on Eliza's winged transformation, we hope to release footage of that in a few weeks.
Cheers, from all the Squirrel Team!
The Swift Has Launched 10/17/2013
We have been working on this exciting new wingsuit for a long time now, and we're very happy with the result. Feedback from our first customers and team pilots suggests that it's a fun and versatile suit for a wide range of pilots. Talented beginners will enjoy a safe and stable progression, and expert pilots love to backfly, flock, and fly acro with the Swift.
We will be releasing some video of the Swift in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more info.
The Swift product page is here.
The Squirrel Team Sessions 10/17/2013
If you're on facebook, then you've almost certainly already seen this, but just in case you're not... Here's a video of our recent Squirrel Team Sessions, where we met up with a few of our team pilots and flew big mountain lines as a group, in the Swiss Alps.
When we founded Squirrel, our focus was not to make the world's fastest wingsuits. Instead, we wanted to create safer suits with overall true performance in the BASE environment. Of course, we do care about speed and glide, but our first priority is making suits that are less likely to kill you than much of what's out there.
This year, two of our team pilots have had incredible successes in the competition environment. Ellen Brennan is now without question the fastest flying woman in the world, with a series of first place finishes in the wingsuit world cup (flying a serial Colugo). And at the recent WWL event in China, Vincent "Le Blond" Descols took 3rd overall even though he was disqualified on one of his runs (he flew his serial Aura).
We will continue to invest in our team pilots and in the projects of their choosing, whether it is ultralight equipment for alpine wingsuit ascents, or fast suits for competitions, but our focus will always be on safety and overall "True Performance", which is a balance of usability, comfort, and glide.
The AURA: Video 08/12/2013
If you're not already following us on facebook, then please do... we tend to put this stuff up there, first. Here's the new AURA video, which shows our newest suit terrain flying at a wide variety of glide ratios. Watch as Squirrel Team pilots fly the AURA through super steep terrain (for instance, Brevent, 1.6:1) to very "flat" terrain (Jungfrau, 2.5:1). Click through to the Vimeo page if you want to read a bit more info on the suit. Click here to see Cheers from all the Team!
THE AURA IS LAUNCHED 08/02/2013
After a long and exciting development process, the AURA is now in production. Prototypes of the AURA have been tested all over the world for the past year, from Reunion Island and the French Alps to the American Southwest and even New Zealand, and we're very happy with the result. Here's a quick video of Le Blond doing a glide test with his AURA in France - we've seen very impressive numbers from this suit so far, and as far as we can tell nothing else out there beats it.
This suit has amazing glide performance, but the best part in our opinion is that it is also so fun to fly. Carving turns and steep dives give a very powerful and smooth feel, and at the end of the flight the pull is clean and easy. We are delivering the AURA in approximately 5-6 weeks, so get your order in now if you want to fly it this summer.
Cheers from all the Squirrel Team.
ELLEN BRENNAN: FIRST WOMAN, 8TH OVERALL AT PRO BASE WORLD CUP 07/08/2013
We have no idea how Ellen Brennan, a petite blond girl from the USA, managed to beat most of the world's best wingsuit pilots at the first event of the Pro BASE World Cup... but we're really happy for her! ;-)
(Just kidding, we do know why: It's because she's an awesome pilot, and she trains all the time.)
Ellen placed first in the women's category by a comfortable margin, and was 8th overall, putting her ahead of the vast majority of the men. Nice work Ellen! Congrats, and stay safe out there.
A NEW WORLD RECORD? 06/25/2013
June 8 2013, The Vercors BASE Team opened a new exit point on the Point Durier in the Mt Blanc Massif. It is now possibly the world's biggest BASE jump, with 3000m (9,840 feet) of flyable altitude from a natural cliff exit. Pilots: Vincent "Le Blond" Descols (Squirrel Aura), Jean-Phi Gady (Squirrel Colugo), Mael Baguet (Squirrel Colugo), and Mathieu Leroux. Video Here: http://vimeo.com/flysquirrel/durier Click here to see.
SHORT STUFF 05/30/2013
Here is a brief video showing the incredibly short starts which are possible with our new suits. Vincent "Le Blond" Descols demonstrates some technical exit skills at what has been, until now, a slider down jump near Grenoble, France. It is insipring to think about how such a quick start can increase the amount of jumpable terrain, all over the world. We're sure to see many more new exit points opened up this season. Click here to see..
VIDEOS, REVIEWS, AND MORE 04/22/2013
We're adding a lot of content to the site this week. First of all, check out the Colugo video if you haven't already. It discusses some of the suit's key features. Also, we just put up a clip which demonstrates (in addition to what is already shown in the Colugo presentation video), what the Colugo is capable in terms of glide, click here for that.
Also, we've put up a few Reviews from the early adopters of the suit, and we will be setting a Squirrel Team page and bringing back the Squirrel People page in the next few days. Check back soon.
Cheers from all the Squirrel Team... Enjoy your suits, and fly like an animal ;-)
SQUIRRELS, IN THE WILD 04/08/2013
Right now our factory is in full production, and we are receiving several suits per week at our base in the USA where they are then inspected and re-shipped within 24hrs to our customers around the world.
First and foremost, we'd like to send a huge thanks to our customers, who have been waiting for many months in some cases. We really appreciate your patience and hope you'll agree that it's worth the wait.
For those of you who are considering playing with a Squirrel this summer season, our advice is to place your order as soon as you can. Orders placed now (up to mid-April) will definitely be shipped before the end of June. Our intention is to keep delays under two months throughout the summer but demand has been greater than we expected, so this may be difficult.
Stay tuned for a short edit describing some of the Colugo's features... and cheers from all the Squirrel Team, we hope to see you up there this summer.
STANDARD FEATURES 01/10/2013
We have taken the viewpoint that if there is an important feature that is needed on your wingsuit, then it should be standard and you should not have to pay extra. High quality rubber soles, carbon-fiber grip sticks, chest pockets and belly-cam access points, the handy nut-sack, and more... all of these things are standard in every Squirrel suit. Click on the image at left, or here, to see a quick summary of what you get when you order your suit. Cheers, from all the Squirrel Team!
NEW COLORS 12/12/2012
We've just received some custom colored high-strength YKK #10 coil zips. We will be using these on all of the crucial load-bearing parts of the suit, and you'll be able to choose between five different colors when you order. All custom color options are free of charge, and we can work with you to add accent colors beyond what will be available on the order form. We will also be offering some excellent logo work, stay tuned for more info and photos.
CARBON FIBER GRIPPERS 12/07/2012
We're still refining some details, and have recently added carbon fiber grippers to both the Colugo and Aura. These ultralight and stiff carbon sticks feel great in the air, and shave a few grams off of your pack as well. We're excited about this addition and will be making them a standard option (no extra charge) on all of our suits.
COLUGO IN FINAL TEST PHASE 10/14/2012
Our first suit, the Colugo, is now in a final prototype phase. We had originally planned to release the first Colugos during the summer, but with each round of prototypes the design improved and we decided to continue working through the end of the season here, and do a limited release during the northern hemisphere winter. The Colugo is our suit of choice for serious terrain flying in big mountains. A fast start, high agility, and plenty of power to pull out of dives are its key qualities. More info can be found on the Colugo product page.
Developing this suit was a lot of fun! We have been jumping various prototypes since the beginning of 2012, and the summer testing took us all over the Alps, from the Vercors to Lauterbrunnen and the Dolomites, as well as many helicopter jumps in Germany and Switzerland. We hope that you enjoy flying this suit as much as we did making it.
THE SQUIRREL STORY 10/12/2012
What's our story? Well, the shortest possible answer is, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."
Here's a bit more detail: We had been discussing the idea of creating our own wingsuit design for several years, but this idea gained momentum during the summer of 2011. The initial plan was not to produce suits to sell to the public, but make just a few custom suits for ourselves to fly; our dream was to have exactly what we wanted, without having to ask anyone else to make it.
In early 2012, we secured production capacity in the Ozone Paragliders Workshop and suddenly had the possibility to produce wingsuits for more than just ourselves. Since then, we have been through a whirlwind of progress and design progression. We have experimented with a wide range of possible designs, from complex rigid wings with expanding cutaway sleeves to the most basic constructions of nylon and thread. We have pursued designs that focused purely on glide performance, and designs with only comfort and ease of use as the end goal. Luc Armant, a fluid dynamics expert and a designer for Ozone Paragliders, has driven our profile / planform development and we have made prototypes with a wide range of profiles of varying camber and thicknesses.
The overriding lesson for us during this development has been that by far the most important design parameter is safety. For us, approaching the design table with anything else in the forefront of our minds is not an option. The key points for every design we make are: cleanest pull possible, most dependable wing pressurization, and the most stable and "balanced" trim flight. Glide and speed, while very important to us, are secondary and we believe that no performance advantage is worth dying for.
Our first suit, the Colugo (google it if you want to know what it means), is our all-mountain terrain flyer for pilots of intermediate to expert ability - pilots who want to carve the terrain and fly the most aggressive lines will love the agility and power of the Colugo. Other models will follow shortly; the Aura, our "big" suit, will satisfy pilots for whom maximum glide is the priority, and our beginner suit, meant for your first flights, will be coming soon. Anyway, that's enough for now, stay tuned for more info.
Cheers, from Matt and all the Squirrel Team.