Creator of Figure Kiting a Red Bull finalist
By: Justin Brisbane
| Posted: Thursday, Sep 06, 2012 06:00 am
Meagan Stewart is by no means an extreme athlete.
She finished last in almost every figure skating competition she entered as a child and has next to no experience with the snowkite.
However, if she gets her way, the Banff resident will change both sports forever.
Forged on the frozen waters of Vermilion Lakes, she’s giving birth to the sport of Figure Kiting, combining the grace of figure skating with the adrenaline and elevation of snowkiting. Although she jokes of designer sequin harnesses and icy glory, she’s now a finalist in a Red Bull Launchpad competition for new sports.
“I was a lousy figure skater. I couldn’t get the height. But I’d dream of these routines with double backflips and impossible jumps,” Stewart said. “The dream has been percolating since then.”
Enter the snowkite.
“A friend took the kite out and we realized it was possible to do hops. I could do moves similar to figure skating,” Stewart said.
She envisions figure skaters attached to colourful kites, performing massive jumps across glass-like lakes.
“Kite-assisted figure skating will be awkward, maybe even painful to watch live. But it will combine the mechanics of snowkiting with the artistry and agility of figure skating to spectacular effect. To make it watchable, it will be packaged in a tight film edit, weaving together multiple locations, skaters, and a slick soundtrack choreographed to match the steezy tricks,” Stewart wrote on her Tumblr website.
The idea sat on the backburner, but two years ago her friend submitted the idea to the Red Bull Launchpad competition. Stewart works for the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour and is well aware how such funding has allowed other sports to take off. Snickers aside, she took the bull by the horns and made a 30-second video promoting her sport with help from her friends Adam Greenberg and Ray Schmidt.
“It seemed like a good fit. If I win, it would make a dream come true,” Stewart said.
She’s in conversation with a kite manufacturing company and already has a clothing sponsor lined up.
The next phase will include a showcase of Stewart’s marketing skills. If she reaches the final five, she’ll be flown to Los Angeles to pitch her sport to Red Bull executives in person.
Either way, she plans on seeing the sport through.
“This will be a long-term thing.”
Stewart is now one of 11 finalists in the Red Bull competition. She’s the only female left in the final and the only Canadian. To support her cause, she’s asking the public to visit her tumblr site at mountainmegs.tumblr.com and tweet about her cause.
The competition has allowed Stewart to connect with other young women willing to connect with their figure skating memories, as well as open a new avenue to allow women into extreme sports on their own terms.
“I’ve joked it’s a womanly action sport – girly meets gnarly – but I do hope other people will take it up,” Stewart said.