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BryanCampau

bigger is better...?

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There is a massive focus on jumping to large suits quickly (particularly the large acro suits) and i'd like to open the discussion on it. I think the newer wingsuiters in the community could benefit from it and reflect on their own experiences.

Yes, the new large acro suit platforms are fun...of course they are! But I would say 75%+ of the people i know that own them shouldn't be flying them. Most of them don't know how to back fly a smaller suit and are worried about getting the larger suits on their back. These aren't suits to learn on...they are suits that you should be adapting your skills from smaller suits to.

Of the suits that I own/have owned - I spend more time jumping my Shadow and Carve then I do any other suits. I still set goals on my jumps and learn on both of these suits. I'd like to see a larger focus on these suits and people really learning to fly them. It would be cool to see wingsuit acro be a common thing. People forming teams and working up their skills together. Setting goals and learning fast. Less focus on hopping in a 15 way to fly a slot and more on 2 ways with more movement and lots of docks.

But who cares what I think - let's get some more opinions in here and really fight about it. :)

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Just for reference, what suits are you placing in the "large acro" category and how quickly is quickly? Relevant discussion for me, as I just placed an order for the Hunter after flying the (original) Funk for the last year and being pretty disappointed in its acro capabilities, among other things.

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I agree with all that.

It doesn't make much sense to learn stuff for the first time on a bigger suit. Learn on a smaller suit then take those new skills to the bigger suit.

It would definitely be cool to see more wingsuit acro being a common thing with team comps.

That being said I still don't understand 'wingsuit freefly'. If I wanted to go down really fast I would freefly. I bought a wingsuit to go forwards.

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I would consider Hunter, Strix, Freak, Psycho...etc as the large acro class. Funks, Havocs....etc as mid size acro. And how quickly is too quickly is really up for discussion. I have around 700 WS jumps at the moment and i feel comfortable in the large acro suits but i probably wouldn't have felt as comfortable as I really should of if i had around 300-400 WS jumps. I had several hundred in the mid size acro suits before trying the large acro suits. I don't think going up from a Swift or any other small acro suits is adequate.

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Will ask a slightly different question: Will you learn more by doing solos on a small suit, or flying with people in a big suit?

At many dropzones I've been to, that's the choice. I feel like I've learned WAY more since upgrading to the Freak because I can jump with other people who are better than me, more often. I get more out of each jump than I did doing mostly solos on my Swift.

Another question: what is the downside to going bigger?

Yes, there is more material to manage, and there is more risk of things like a flat spin, or deployment issues. But if you have enough experience on a small suit to fly out of instability, then I don't really see any down side to using a bigger suit. Really, the point of even wearing a wingsuit is to increase our flight performance envelope. Bigger suits increase that by more. So once it is safe to do so, why WOULDN'T you want to upsize?
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Also good questions and I can't pretend to know the correct or best answer but i'm happy to give my two cents.

We must be going to different dropzones as I see more mid size suits than anything. And if you fly a mid size acro suit well then i don't see why you couldn't fly with the large suits as long as they aren't playing with the top end of their range. i'm not suggesting they fly folded in half either. And you wolol

You may get more out of the flock then you would a solo but that's really asking for a slow progression in skills...and i'd be curious to hear more opinions.

The second questions can be related to in the sense of asking what the downside is to going smaller with your canopy. It's significantly harder to learn on a larger suit if you skipped the steps in between. They are more significantly more sensitive. Lets say a canopy pilot wants to land down wind on a strong wind day with his sub 100 Velo but he never did it with any other canopies. For him it's probably not going to end well but think of the odds. He is far more likely to learn this quicker on a larger canopy. So how much extra time would he waste and potentially be reckless trying to learn the skill?

So if you try to learn belly to back transitions in this large acro suit it may take you 50 jumps to REALLY stick them, for example. But in those 50 jumps you lose a lot of altitude and lose heading. Well then do you REALLY know where your mates are? Do they know you are coming? Oh and you may have just ended up on a solo jump as you lost a ton of altitude in the mistake.

Smaller suits are more forgiving to bad body positions but you can still feel when you nail the right transition or body position. It's easier to negotiate the suits in the sky. Learning is much faster. They are safer to learn on when flying with others. Less likely to lose tons of separation from the group. Not that group jumps are the time to play with learning transitions all willy nilly. lol

There's lots of things that can be said on the subject and i'm sure there is many that will chime in.

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This is a very "hot" topic. A moving target. Suit classes small, intermediate, big. Not that simple anymore, you have largish small suits now, you have smallish intermediates now, you have small bigsuits, and then still the giant suits.

Suit Progression is there for safety reasons. And to progress skills, it is much more difficult to learn acro tricks on a too-big suit. Much easier to do that on a smallish suit. Also, everybody knows that having one suit is not enough today, you must have a set of suits eventually, small/intermediate for acro and "normal" flocking or coaching, big for high speed flocking, XRW, performance comp's, etc...

You have people who happen to have a standard body-size, they can just up-size in small steps buying used gear. Some people can't do that and are naturally looking to skip a class here and there in order to spend a little less money and one could argue that these money where better spent on upgrading skills in current wingsuit, yeah??. So are micro-steps frequently upgrading suits involving getting used to many new suits rather than being able to focus on skills doing fewer upgrades - better or worse? Remember we do not just have 3 classes anymore....

Quote

we must be going to different dropzones as I see more mid size suits than anything



We must be. I see this and I travel a'lot: Fun dynamic flocking with new small bigsuit types, grinning people flying fast and agile, just having loads of fun chasing clouds or much more using their Swiss-knife wingsuit that can do all it seems. Looks like that is where most people wants to be? And want to get there as fast as possible in order to fly with their friends.

Don't get me wrong though, I certainly think Acro competitions should become "more" popular. We need to have this sort of competitions in the sport to keep it as a real competitive sport. I notice Btw Tony launched his latest Acro suit recently, it's certainly an intermediate design with biggish wings and it looks to be flying very good.

Here are some real cases, comment please people...

1) Weekend warrior, FS jumper background and medium active, does FFC, buys a small wingsuit, flies some - mostly solo's, not that successful. At 50-80 WS jumps: get's an intermediate suit, spends 20 jumps on learning the basics getting trying to feel comfortable, try to flock a little, not to great performance though, tries backflying, sort of works. Flies mostly solo's - as friends upgraded. Goes back to FS jumping mostly, then after some time with little flying, at 200 WS jumps, tries a small bigsuit, comes down grinning, wants to get back into WS, it seems like he grows nicely with it and he is more successful in flocking now than ever....

2) Weekend warrior, freeflyer and talented and ambitious, does FFC, buys a state-of-the art small suit, back flying successfully at around 20ws jumps, participates in performance competition and wins small class, work as a camera flyer on an acro team, becoming WS instructor, now has around 200 ws jumps and high on skills and eager to go to... hmm... Orders a small bigsuit, will receiving close coaching, will do solos getting to know the suit intimately then do some one on one's learning steep, acro, performance, carving, etc..

I think it is perhaps more fruitful if we can discuss this based on some real examples - good and bad - as this discussion really can go haywire because of obsolete or narrow minded or static viewpoints, people discussing here, mostly jumping isolated on their own little dz not seeing so much else out there. On the other hand we can always base everything on what the wingsuit manufacturers recommend which we should off course per default, but we all know they sort of tries to hit common ground. In the end it is up to us dedicated and experienced people to understand where we are heading, making sure people are safe and that they learn efficiently. We will not agree all of us and that is okay with me. I want to hear more experienced people discuss this here, referring to real recent cases, addressing this in a constructive way

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birdynamnam

I want to hear more experienced people discuss this here, referring to real recent cases, addressing this in a constructive way



Here's one from within the last couple of years.

Tall, thin jumper starts to wingsuit, doing his first few flights on a borrowed beginner suit. This guy works at the DZ every day and jumps throughout the week, so he is more current than most.

Jumper searches for a second hand suit to buy to save money, finds an intermediate-class suit (Barracuda) that he buys because 'it fits him'. 2 experienced wingsuiters tell him this suit is fine for him.
He jumps this suit several times. I go on a jump with him, and he almost hits the tail on exit. To add to this, I suspect he was completely unaware of it too.

Furthermore, he found the suit difficult to fly and was sinking out in flocks of heavier jumpers in Phantoms.

So this is an example of someone who bought a bigger suit, too soon, for the wrong reasons, and as a result was less safe, and flew worse.

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I like some of the comparisons being given in this thread.

As someone about to upgrade from phantom 3 to freak/strix without first flying a havoc/funk let me give my view.

I have very limited FF experience with majority of my jumps being FS focused. I do 10-15 jumps a month on average.

Total ws jumps ~ 150
Combination of performance, 2-4 ways and some solo acro practice. My back flying ability is shit but that's true without a WS.

I am not expecting to suddenly backfly a larger suit. I need to learn that on the phantom first but if I am honest solos learning back flying are boring so I never practise.

Why do I want a bigger suit? I did 15 jumps on a freak over my summer holidays and it was a blast.
So much power and added speed compared to the phantom. Jumps were super fun and if I am going to be doing 5 WS jumps a month I want them to be fun.

The majority of my friends are now also moving up in suit sizes so there is definitely a feeling of being left out when they go play.

I also enjoy the occasional performance comp but it is no fun beating beginners on similar rookie suits when people I would like to test myself on fly open class suits.

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to each his own within limits, just know that if you upgrade to early to a big acro suits you have to be ready to deal with some nasty consequences if things go wrong and they do, unexpectedly and violently. if you cant barrel roll, back fly a small suit its pretty much a foregone conclusion that you will experience some nasty flat spins on your back begging to be let out. if it happens on a small suit you learn how to feel them coming and counter before it reaches that point. In big suits problems come faster and more violent. without the small suit progression you are pretty much on your own trying to figure out what works and what doesnt to eradicate the situation while spinning like a top with your back to the ground burning through altitude. trust me you dont want to be there. if you plan to dive and flare and not get to steep you are probably safe until that one time on exit when ...

~ time is ~ time was ~ times past ~

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It bugs me that any suit that won't do a front loop (fruity loop) is called "acro". Really we are just refering to suits that backfly and transition well, that isn't full acro. I think that's just me though. ;)

But I totally agree with the point that people are in big suits way too quickly. It's always been a problem but the marketing from manufacturers now more than ever seems to promote it.
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DHemer

I like some of the comparisons being given in this thread.

As someone about to upgrade from phantom 3 to freak/strix without first flying a havoc/funk let me give my view.

I have very limited FF experience with majority of my jumps being FS focused. I do 10-15 jumps a month on average.

Total ws jumps ~ 150
Combination of performance, 2-4 ways and some solo acro practice. My back flying ability is shit but that's true without a WS.

I am not expecting to suddenly backfly a larger suit. I need to learn that on the phantom first but if I am honest solos learning back flying are boring so I never practise.

Why do I want a bigger suit? I did 15 jumps on a freak over my summer holidays and it was a blast.
So much power and added speed compared to the phantom. Jumps were super fun and if I am going to be doing 5 WS jumps a month I want them to be fun.

The majority of my friends are now also moving up in suit sizes so there is definitely a feeling of being left out when they go play.

I also enjoy the occasional performance comp but it is no fun beating beginners on similar rookie suits when people I would like to test myself on fly open class suits.



One size does not fit all. Everyone would agree that you need to learn the basics on a smallish suit.
But when deciding what's next it really depends on what you plan on doing... I did over a handful of coached jumps after my FFC and bought a new Funk. In retrospect I should have bought something different, NOT that I had any problems flying or controlling the suit but IMO the suit kinda sucks in general. I still fly the fuck out of it and I've learned to like it.
Bear in mind I do ALOT of solo flying due to the nature of my DZ... Last year I decided to make a slightly larger "up grade" into a performance suit(C-Race) and I LOVE it. Much has been done in the way of R&D from the big
Three and the sport will continue to evolve.

So my take away is, what do you want out of the suit???

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From my own experience upsizing too quickly (P3 to S-Bird/X-Bird) I'd say the biggest piece of advice for someone would be, are you comfortable enough with your current suit that you could intentionally tumble out of the door and not be nervous about it? If the answer is yes, then sure go ahead and upsize.

The acro thing is fun but takes a ton of work, and then you have to have other competent people to jump with. At least for me, there were no hardcore acro people around and leading jumps on my back is boring AF. I'm just a casual fun jumper so the work involved to dial in real acro wasn't worth it to me, might as well just learn to angle fly. Back flying my Havok got boring after about 20 jumps.

Doing the stuff in all the cool acro vids would be great, but so would tearing it up in a tunnel, it just ain't happening for me anytime soon, so I prefer to enjoy the jumps I make more rather than be in training mode all the time.

Upsizing allowed me to tag along with more experienced people and do some formation stuff as well as race with each other, which is more fun for me than a slow flock (I would rather do a solo). The feeling of flying a big and fast suit also makes solos and cloud surfing a lot more fun, there is just more that you can do and the forward speed actually "feels" a lot more like flying.

I've played with my C2 on its back and it is "neat" but cruising fast and carving around clouds does a lot more for me.

So basically for me the appeal was, with a big suit I can fly with everyone (including trackers, which is kinda fun flying with it shut down, it takes a lot of nuance). I can also have more fun on solos. And I was surprised how much more like "flight" it felt compared to a mid size suit.

Not to mention being able to have hop and pop esque deployments after a good flare.

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Anachronist

From my own experience upsizing too quickly (P3 to S-Bird/X-Bird) I'd say the biggest piece of advice for someone would be, are you comfortable enough with your current suit that you could intentionally tumble out of the door and not be nervous about it? If the answer is yes, then sure go ahead and upsize.

The acro thing is fun but takes a ton of work, and then you have to have other competent people to jump with. At least for me, there were no hardcore acro people around and leading jumps on my back is boring AF. I'm just a casual fun jumper so the work involved to dial in real acro wasn't worth it to me, might as well just learn to angle fly. Back flying my Havok got boring after about 20 jumps.

Doing the stuff in all the cool acro vids would be great, but so would tearing it up in a tunnel, it just ain't happening for me anytime soon, so I prefer to enjoy the jumps I make more rather than be in training mode all the time.

Upsizing allowed me to tag along with more experienced people and do some formation stuff as well as race with each other, which is more fun for me than a slow flock (I would rather do a solo). The feeling of flying a big and fast suit also makes solos and cloud surfing a lot more fun, there is just more that you can do and the forward speed actually "feels" a lot more like flying.

I've played with my C2 on its back and it is "neat" but cruising fast and carving around clouds does a lot more for me.

So basically for me the appeal was, with a big suit I can fly with everyone (including trackers, which is kinda fun flying with it shut down, it takes a lot of nuance). I can also have more fun on solos. And I was surprised how much more like "flight" it felt compared to a mid size suit.

Not to mention being able to have hop and pop esque deployments after a good flare.




+1

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I've just ordered myself a large "acro" suit, after 100 jumps on a beginner suit and 400 jumps on an intermediate suit. Probably the biggest reason I waited as long as I did was that I had a coach that preached on being able to actually fly a small suit well before going any bigger.

I think it's up to instructors and coaches to hammer on this so that the aim isn't to fly bigger suits soon, but to understand the fundamentals of wingsuit flying. Last weekend I heard a kid say "yeah, I put like 2 jumps on a phantom and about 5 on this swift, so I just went ahead and got a Funk". That's insane to me. I've seen several people comment about wanting to keep up with their friends, so let's use that same principle to get everyone to stay on their small suits longer. If their friends haven't gone bigger then maybe they wont be in such a rush to upsize?

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skydave89

I've just ordered myself a large "acro" suit, after 100 jumps on a beginner suit and 400 jumps on an intermediate suit. Probably the biggest reason I waited as long as I did was that I had a coach that preached on being able to actually fly a small suit well before going any bigger.

I think it's up to instructors and coaches to hammer on this so that the aim isn't to fly bigger suits soon, but to understand the fundamentals of wingsuit flying. Last weekend I heard a kid say "yeah, I put like 2 jumps on a phantom and about 5 on this swift, so I just went ahead and got a Funk". That's insane to me. I've seen several people comment about wanting to keep up with their friends, so let's use that same principle to get everyone to stay on their small suits longer. If their friends haven't gone bigger then maybe they wont be in such a rush to upsize?



A wingsuit "arms race" doesn't help anyone.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Hi Dan,

Just having returned, like you, from Flock 'N Dock, something that I observed this year is the increasing number of people who want to fly vertical slots, or back-fly under, the "big ways" who still can't accurately hold position in their slot when flying on their front.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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kallend

Hi Dan,

Just having returned, like you, from Flock 'N Dock, something that I observed this year is the increasing number of people who want to fly vertical slots, or back-fly under, the "big ways" who still can't accurately hold position in their slot when flying on their front.



My first "big way" was 41 at FnD, three years ago. As I recall it was a lot better formation than the two that we did last week. The last two years I have heard many ask for "more forward speed" because they are in a flock with larger suits and can't effectively match the flock speed. I agree we (as a group) are moving toward a quality problem. Maybe it is just the growing pains of the discipline. Everyone wants to fly a wingsuit, you know. At 500 or so jumps in the same medium suit, I am still learning things.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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