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Chris-Ottawa

In the market for a wingsuit? Look no further than Squirrel!

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In order to give everyone the option of reading the lengthy post below, the paragraph directly below this sentence is a very condensed summary of the the rest of this post.

There's a lot of hype around Squirrel wingsuits right now. People are saying that they're the highest performing suit, the best built suit etc. The point is, if you're in the market for a new wingsuit, DO NOT exclude Squirrel from your choices. Their customer service is matched by no one (except maybe L&B). The entire process was very easy and I cannot begin to recommend them enough. Simply put...Squirrel should be at the top of your list if you're in the market.

Because the summary above does not fully complement the effort Mike/Matt and the rest of the Squirrel team put in, here's the detailed version.

First of all, I want to assure you that I am just some random guy that recently ordered a Squirrel suit. I have absolutely no affiliation with Squirrel, I am not being paid or getting a discount from them for posting this, and I am doing this of my own free will. This is simply me expressing my genuine satisfaction for a company that has earned the recognition.

Pre-Purchase/Exploratory Questions:
Prior to considering sending my money over to Squirrel, I had a bunch of questions. I used Facebook as a medium since I find companies are pretty responsive to Facebook. To my surprise, the responses were coming directly from Mike Steen & Matt Gerdes and this was nice to see. They were responding to my many questions very quickly.

Since they are a new company (publicly anyways), I wanted to know more about the suit's material and available (or hidden) options. I also asked about performance in specific disciplines of interest, why this, or why that etc. All of my questions were answered fully, quickly and to my complete satisfaction .

During the Order process
First of all, I wanted to say that their ordering process is quick and simple. Just a couple measurements, a couple clicks and your credit card company love you! Haha. During the measuring process, I once again had questions. Mike Steen was there again to respond. Simple questions like when measuring my crotch, do I lift my pants up to my dangly bits, do I push the dangly bits to the side, or do I measure it right from where my pants hang. It's these simple questions that can be the difference between getting a suit that fits, and having something that simply doesn't fit. So, the suit was now ordered and Christmas was fast approaching, along with new years...why do I mention this? Because it would delay my suit...or so I thought.

Shipping & Delivery
Suit was Ordered Dec 1, 2013
Suit was paid for Dec 2, 2013
Suit Arrived Jan 13, 2014, 1 week BEFORE the estimated date. That's 6 weeks...including Christmas and New Years.

I was a bit angry at FedEx for leaving my suit alone, unattended and in the cold on my door step for 5 hours while I was at work, but I was thrilled to get the suit. Thankfully I live out in the country and it's nowhere near as bad as the time another courier left a restricted handgun at the front door of my condo in the city... Anyways, I ducked out of work early to get home and try the suit on. Opening the box, the suit was packed nicely in a bag, and a little bag of trinkets was included. I gently pulled the suit out and instantly noticed the VERY HIGH quality of the suit. These suits are built in the same factory as Ozone paraglider wings, and you can tell. The stitches are laser precise and ultra clean. The suit is incredibly well made and feels very durable.

The little bag of trinkets included a couple stickers, some warranty/disclaimer type cards, a Squirrel club card (20% discount on follow up orders!) and a Squirrel pullup cord. Nice!

It didn't fit!!!
After trying on the suit with my rig all hooked up, I thought the arms were a bit long so I got in touch with Squirrel via Facebook again. Matt and Mike were both there again helping me out. They determined that the arms did look a little long after reviewing some pictures. The booties were also too small to fit around my feet. I'm fairly certain the arm length was my fault, and the shoe sizing was a simple mix up. Matt assured me it was no big deal to fix and asked me to send the suit back. I thought...damn...it's gonna cost me $100 to send this back insured; when I got an email from Mike. It was a pre-paid shipping label. This simple thing is what completely won me over. You simply don't see companies doing adjustments/repairs out of their pocket, along with paying return shipping. Just WOW! The suit was sent back on a Monday, and I had it was returned the following Tuesday. I though "Damn...FedEx messed up and returned the suit to me".

Nope...it was adjusted and returned in under a week. Once again...I was stunned. The willingness to complete the repairs, along with the shipping is the type of customer service only paralleled by L&B. This is fantastic.

The suit performance
I'm not going to bother talking about the performance of the suit because you can't explain that to someone and I prefer to avoid the DZ.com banter if I did. The fact is, you've seen the videos...it's an incredible suit. From me...the suit flies great, has wicked pressurization, feels much more stable than an Apache, and a little less stable than a Vampire 4 (due to it being a much different suit). Fact is, I love it even though I only have 4 jumps on it now. I'm looking forward to many, many jumps in this suit.

A huge thank you to Mike and Matt for all their help and putting up with my questions. You guys went way beyond the minimums and this has earned you the best review I could write up. Keep doing what you're doing and you'll dominate the industry (more than you already are). I've seen a HUGE spike in wingsuit interest and new wingsuiters up here in Canada. I've been wingsuiting for 5 or 6 years and I've never seen more than 3 jumpers in one place here in Canada. Now, I show up at the DZ and there's no less than 8 or 9 people with suits on any given day and new students graduating from the new wingsuit school at the DZ this year. There is no doubt that Squirrel has contributed to this with their marketing and awesome suits.

Seriously...Squirrel is doing things that are rocking the skydiving/wingsuit/BASE worlds. They deserve your business and I cannot stress enough how pleasant and smooth the whole process was.

Mike, Matt & Team....a HUGE thank you!

PS: If it was in the budget...I'd happily take you up on the frequent flyer program. Unfortunately...the wife disagrees. That being said...when I'm ready for another suit, I won't mind paying full price for this top notch service.

I should also mention that Squirrel wasn't the only company I spoke with and asked questions to. I was interested in 2 suits primarily, Squirrel and another well known company. I sent messages to the other company and replies were spotty at best. Eventually, they just stopped responding. That sealed their fate in my books. Squirrel was just getting better and better, so they got my business. Customer service means SO MUCH to many people. I won't just give my money to the first company that makes X or Y suit.

That's all for now...
"When once you have tasted flight..."

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I can see that I probably wasn't the only person to wonder what the correct measurement would be. I was told that I should simply measure to the base of the "boys".

Years ago, I had ordered a Kurupee suit and measured it "snug". It was certainly snugger than I had anticipated and I didn't want that same mistake on a wingsuit.
"When once you have tasted flight..."

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Chris-Ottawa

The suit performance
I'm not going to bother talking about the performance of the suit because you can't explain that to someone and I prefer to avoid the DZ.com banter if I did. The fact is, you've seen the videos...it's an incredible suit. From me...the suit flies great, has wicked pressurization, feels much more stable than an Apache, and a little less stable than a Vampire 4 (due to it being a much different suit).



A YouTube video is subjective. Feeling is subjective. Lets check the recorded numbers. Numbers don't lie. Plus, you can explain numbers. 2 is more than 1, for example, but 1st place is better than 2nd. Also, I keep hearing these suits "can fly circles around phantoms" but I've yet to see it actually happen.

The best Aura and Colugo times are sitting at 86th and 91st on the time charts flying for 63.9 and 62.7 seconds over a vertical kilometer. Interestingly, those times are the best times flown by those pilots and the best flown by those suits, so those numbers aren't just where they'd be in the charts, they're actually there. The Swift's best recorded score is 52.9 seconds. There are 9 Phantom 3 tracks and 25+ Phantom 2 tracks recorded at better times than the Swift's current recorded best.

How about distance? With 1.912 and 2.320 km flown, they'd both be sitting at position 150+++
Interestingly, the swift didn't place too far behind the Aura, with 1.887 km. The Phantom 2 has 25 tracks flying 2.330 km or more.

Sadly, there is a prodigy 2 jump that is higher in the distance charts than both the Swift and the Aura has been recorded flying at.

What about Speed? At 206.3 km/h the Colugo first appears in the rankings at 172nd. It does not appear that the Aura has done a speed run. The Swift's current best run is 199.9 km/h. I stopped counting before I ran into a 200km/h run on a P2.

Don't believe me? Please, go check the numbers yourself.
http://paralog.net/ppc/

If you really think your suit is better than everything else, go compete in it so we can see where it really stands.

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This thread makes me think of something I'd heard in the tech world. PCs have users, Mac has evangelists. You do something well enough that people love, they're going to talk about it. Chris is a squirrel evangelist now and if the other companies don't step up their game customer service wise, they're going to continue to lose business. I am not going to say a single word in this thread about flight performance, but customer service wise, there is absolutely no comparison between squirrel and existing wingsuit companies.

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Numbers are awesome, but there are tonnes of other reasons why someone (including myself) would buy something other than the top suit on paralog.net. If your only criteria is having the #1 suit...then that's a fantastic resource. I had my own criteria for my next suit, and making it to even the top #100 spot on paralog.net was not even a remote consideration.

It's a fair point to display those numbers for people who might be developing their own requirements for a suit. Unfortunately, what I gathered from your post is probably the opposite of what you intended to prove. Sure, I can see that an Aura hasn't performed as well as an Apache (yet?). But I also see that a Phantom can beat a Vampire or an S-Bird and there's only one explanation for that. Pilot skill. This fact alone almost makes the data on that site pointless if you're using it to choose the next biggest baddest suit.

Unfortunately, my post really didn't discuss performance for this exact reason. I wanted to avoid the banter. I instead focused my review on the things that mattered to me...customer service, responsiveness, quality, delivery times, desired suit performance etc..

To each their own...
"When once you have tasted flight..."

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Feath3r

***The suit performance
I'm not going to bother talking about the performance of the suit because you can't explain that to someone and I prefer to avoid the DZ.com banter if I did. The fact is, you've seen the videos...it's an incredible suit. From me...the suit flies great, has wicked pressurization, feels much more stable than an Apache, and a little less stable than a Vampire 4 (due to it being a much different suit).



A YouTube video is subjective. Feeling is subjective. Lets check the recorded numbers. Numbers don't lie. Plus, you can explain numbers. 2 is more than 1, for example, but 1st place is better than 2nd. Also, I keep hearing these suits "can fly circles around phantoms" but I've yet to see it actually happen.

The best Aura and Colugo times are sitting at 86th and 91st on the time charts flying for 63.9 and 62.7 seconds over a vertical kilometer. Interestingly, those times are the best times flown by those pilots and the best flown by those suits, so those numbers aren't just where they'd be in the charts, they're actually there. The Swift's best recorded score is 52.9 seconds. There are 9 Phantom 3 tracks and 25+ Phantom 2 tracks recorded at better times than the Swift's current recorded best.

How about distance? With 1.912 and 2.320 km flown, they'd both be sitting at position 150+++
Interestingly, the swift didn't place too far behind the Aura, with 1.887 km. The Phantom 2 has 25 tracks flying 2.330 km or more.

Sadly, there is a prodigy 2 jump that is higher in the distance charts than both the Swift and the Aura has been recorded flying at.

What about Speed? At 206.3 km/h the Colugo first appears in the rankings at 172nd. It does not appear that the Aura has done a speed run. The Swift's current best run is 199.9 km/h. I stopped counting before I ran into a 200km/h run on a P2.

Don't believe me? Please, go check the numbers yourself.
http://paralog.net/ppc/

If you really think your suit is better than everything else, go compete in it so we can see where it really stands.

Maybe you should give all the numbers when you post your facts, like maybe your height and weight. From looking at you I would guess 6'3'' and 140lbs? Anyone with those stats should be able to climb thermals in a classic.;):P

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Haha exactly. I could give a flying fuck about the 1% of people who upload to that site. I'd like to think some of my friends are recognized as some of the best base pilots in the world, and I don't know a single one that does distance competitions. Jaron has got to be one of the best acro/all around pilots out there, but is he #1 on all the paralog tracks? But I'd listen to his opinion on suits for sure. So much of numbers in skydiving had to do with conditions. There's a reason when they do land speed records they require that the record be the average of two runs in opposite directions. Same thing is true with base, but you can at least say from exit x on this day I flew to point y. Aren't all those numbers people who dive super hard and then flare super hard too? How is that applicable to anything accept that specific scenario?

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hjumper33

This thread makes me think of something I'd heard in the tech world. PCs have users, Mac has evangelists. You do something well enough that people love, they're going to talk about it. Chris is a squirrel evangelist now and if the other companies don't step up their game customer service wise, they're going to continue to lose business. I am not going to say a single word in this thread about flight performance, but customer service wise, there is absolutely no comparison between squirrel and existing wingsuit companies.



The head of the company that I work for, copyrighted this business formula some 25-30 years ago. It expresses very clearly what drives customers.

http://www.baldor.com/about/value_formula.asp
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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On 5/15/2014 at 3:22 AM, Feath3r said:

 


A YouTube video is subjective. Feeling is subjective. Lets check the recorded numbers. Numbers don't lie. Plus, you can explain numbers. 2 is more than 1, for example, but 1st place is better than 2nd. Also, I keep hearing these suits "can fly circles around phantoms" but I've yet to see it actually happen.

The best Aura and Colugo times are sitting at 86th and 91st on the time charts flying for 63.9 and 62.7 seconds over a vertical kilometer. Interestingly, those times are the best times flown by those pilots and the best flown by those suits, so those numbers aren't just where they'd be in the charts, they're actually there. The Swift's best recorded score is 52.9 seconds. There are 9 Phantom 3 tracks and 25+ Phantom 2 tracks recorded at better times than the Swift's current recorded best.

How about distance? With 1.912 and 2.320 km flown, they'd both be sitting at position 150+++
Interestingly, the swift didn't place too far behind the Aura, with 1.887 km. The Phantom 2 has 25 tracks flying 2.330 km or more.

Sadly, there is a prodigy 2 jump that is higher in the distance charts than both the Swift and the Aura has been recorded flying at.

What about Speed? At 206.3 km/h the Colugo first appears in the rankings at 172nd. It does not appear that the Aura has done a speed run. The Swift's current best run is 199.9 km/h. I stopped counting before I ran into a 200km/h run on a P2.

Don't believe me? Please, go check the numbers yourself.
http://paralog.net/ppc/

If you really think your suit is better than everything else, go compete in it so we can see where it really stands.

 

So funny clicking this link all these years later to see that Squirrel completely and utterly dominate the PPC charts... Hahahaha

 

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I recently had a similar experience with Squirrel. Two weeks ago I ordered an Epicene Pro. I asked Squirrel to email me back a confirmation of the colors I chose just to play it safe, and I got an email back within minutes of me submitting my order. A week later I ordered an ATC 2 (granted I might have waited had I known a 20% coupon was coming), and had an equally pleasant experience. Right now I'm quoted an 8 week lead time, but that's mostly my fault for waiting until the start of the season to order gear on two of their most popular items. Like others have said above, I also had issues with measuring for a suit, specifically the inseam. I also wasn't sure how tight the tape measuring had to be, and where to start or stop. But a simple email to Squirrel solved that within a matter of minutes.

 

In the past I've emailed Squirrel probably 50 times about random questions regarding gear, techniques, or just random questions. Each time I've had an email response from either Matt or Mike within 24 hours. I've even messaged them about purchasing used Squirrel gear, and they were more than happy to answer my questions. Their level of customer service and professionalism has ruined my expectations for other companies because Squirrel has set the bar so high. Unless something dramatic happens, I'm going to keep buying Squirrel gear and keep recommending it to others.

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At this point all of the "big" competitors are offering quality gear, solid customer service, and easy ordering systems. It's chocolate or vanilla folks, everyone has a favorite but it all tastes good. 

PF, Tony, Sq...all will provide you with a wingsuit with more performance than you're (probably) capable of using, and all will answer the questions needed in order for you to give them money. The biggest difference at this point is marketing budgets.

Fly whatever flavor makes you happy. =)

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(edited)
10 hours ago, Bluhdow said:

At this point all of the "big" competitors are offering quality gear, solid customer service, and easy ordering systems. It's chocolate or vanilla folks, everyone has a favorite but it all tastes good. 

PF, Tony, Sq...all will provide you with a wingsuit with more performance than you're (probably) capable of using, and all will answer the questions needed in order for you to give them money. The biggest difference at this point is marketing budgets.

Fly whatever flavor makes you happy. =)

I'd disagree. Squirrel's products are still noticeably superior than the other brands. It might not be a night and day difference, but small amounts of attention to detail go a long way and Squirrel consistently considers the small details while the other brands largely skip over them.

Edited by 20kN

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I was once a squirrel supporter.  No one can argue that they have good customer service. I’ve flown just about every suit they’ve made and currently don’t own anything from them after flying other brands. I don’t like squirrels products.

 

Everyone appreciates a different thing in a wingsuit. Everyone should form their own opinion from experience. Try them all and buy what you enjoy flying the most. Or just blindly follow the marketing like a sheep. Your choice. 

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