Argo Runner is Kite Flying World Champion Hopeful - News, Sports and Weather

Argo Runner is Kite Flying World Champion Hopeful

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Kristian Slater runs track and cross-country for the UGF Argos. He's good enough, that part of his college tuition is paid for because of it.

"Ever since I started running back in high school I've just found the passion for it," Slater says.

But his favorite thing to do isn't so... grounded.

"Most people think that I am joking when I tell them I fly kites,” Slater says.

Don't believe him? Ask his track coach Bill Brist.

"When I first found out about it, his passion for flying kites, I thought, well, that's an unusual pastime.”

But Kristian does, and he's good!

"In 2013 at the National Championships I took 3 first place and actually won a competition that named me the best kite flyer in America," Slater says.

What started as a family hobby, he went to his first kite flying festival when he was 6 months, turned into a sport 11 years later. 

“My friends started competing and I started watching them fly and compete and so I decided to jump in one day and I got pretty heavy into it while I was in high school,” Slater says.

It's a taken him all over the world. In fact, he was in France last April for the World Championships where his ‘Team Evidence' took 13th place. That was outdoors, his team also performs indoors, which is a whole other ball game.  

"Even having fans hurts the fly-ability of the kite because they are so paper thin that it's our walking and the pressure we create that helps fly the kite, where outdoors the wind, we have to have a kite for each wind level, it's harder to predict outdoors than it is indoors," Slater says.

Different elements mean different kites. Kristian says he and his family have thousands!

"We say we have about 2,000, but we don't really have a count anymore... we just have a trailer full," Slater says.

"It is pretty amazing. It does show how passionate he is about it," Brist adds.

And he says he has his other passion, running, to thank for some of his success.

"I feel like that's one of the things that's really helped me in the kite flying is that I am so much more fit than my other competitors."

So what's next? A year of student teaching, then hopes his team will reach the podium the next time they head to the World Championships. Being the best in the world at something, well, that's no joke. 

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