Coping with Competition
Using competition butterflies to make your performance better, not worse...
Next Level is a coaching school covering wingsuit techniques and aerodynamics in great depth for those of us who would love to fly the Red Bull Aces, build tight 3-D stacks, or enter performance competitions. Then there’s BASE education. Surely all of us have pondered at some time as to what could be done to reduce base wingsuit deaths. One solution is to improve knowledge and understanding. Next Level provides a structured and deep level progression that, for example, includes an in-depth analysis of every slider-up object fatality in the history of BASE.
Next Level’s structured course system offers different levels in the 3 different training areas of: BASE, Wingsuit, and WS BASE (see syllabus below). It reminds me of what Flight-1 did for canopy coaching; breaking it down into separate areas that cover every aspect of canopy flight, with a progression system to take the beginner to expert.
Also like Flight-1, the pedigree of their coaches is impeccable. Next Level’s list of instructors reads like the ‘Who’s Who’ of the wingsuit and base world, with such names as Katie Hansen, Laurent Frat, Micah Couch, Miles Daisher, Noah Bahnson, Scotty Bob, Sean Chuma, Chris Geiler, Taya Weiss, Val Sobol, Vincent Descols and more.
The aim is to provide more than just the courses, in between you have a mentor to discuss things with and to help you progress safely. There is a cool question and answer section for Next Level students, your query is answered personally, with advice from the top. Most of all, Next Level want you to realize the road is long, and to provide a mentor to walk the path with you, proving advice, support and friendly guidance.
Martin Tilley, Asylum Designs and Head of Next Level BASE education explained…
“One of our goals with Next Level is to create a student that is understanding of the true nature of BASE, while being as knowledgeable and humble as possible. The earth and its gravity are constant, it is the selfish ego which is our true adversary.
“BASE is a dangerous and risky endeavor, and to think it is anything else, is foolish and will result in a shortlived career. Much of this process can be guided by a positive and realistic attitude. Being well trained and understanding of your individual skill set, subjective risk factor comfort level and ability to interpret accurate information will increase the odds of success.
“Another goal is to provide a reference point in our network to all our students. This begins when they choose to work with us and will continue on indefinitely, so that regardless of where they are in their journey, they will feel welcomed and supported to safely acquire the knowledge and progress forward to challenging and rewarding experiences.”
Of course BASE first jump courses and wingsuit first flight courses are readily available all around the world, and there are excellent programs available currently. What is different about Next Level is that they are the first to offer a clear path from FJC or FFC to expert, with lifetime mentorship included. Next Level’s mission is not to get students to become experts as fast as possible – quite the opposite, in fact. Their mission is to create longstanding relationships inside the community and provide long term support for jumpers who wish to progress to higher levels.
I have no doubt that the Next Level program is a massive step forward for the sport, thanks to the amount of information that is likely to be shared with the community. It is highly likely to reduce deaths, raise standards and increase the overall knowledge in the wingsuit and BASE world.
Pre-FJC: intro to BASE inc canopy skills, emergency water landing procedures, packing, basic rigging & more
BASE FJC: weather, ethics, rigging, BASE objects, equipment, micro meteorology, risk assessment
BASE Level 1: Recommended add-on to FJC; more jumps, advanced techniques, object avoidance, night, unpacked jumps, multi-way exits
BASE Level 2: Cliffs and other BASE objects (Minimum jump numbers & commitment required).
BASE Level 3: Tracking Alpine Cliffs; mountain micro-meteorology, sub-terminal and terminal deployments, sub-terminal tracking.
WS First Flight Course: First few wingsuit jumps, flight paths, wingsuit aerodynamics, wingsuit design, tips and tricks.
WS Level 1: Recomended add-on to FFC; skill development checklist, maneuvers, formation flying, knowledge base for back-flying, basic acrobatics, advanced patterns of flight.
WS Level 2: Steeper, faster, tighter, higher performance. Vertical & 3D stacks, mixed belly/back, multiple points. Performance flying, AoA vs. Body Configuration, max horizontal speed.
WS Level 3: Gaining altitude, Flares, Vertical Transitions, Advanced Formations, Competition Performance Flying
WS BASE Level 1: Prep for first WS BASE flights; significant classroom theory to flying in an alpine environment.
WS BASE Level 2: Prerequisite – one full season of wingsuit BASE experience and WSB 1. Setting up lines of flight at premier WS BASE exits.
WS BASE Level 3: Opening new exits. Shorter start arcs. Terrain flying. Assessing a new exit point and flying a complex terrain line.
Full syllabi and more details on the Next Level website