This Summer, Harness Some Wind Power – with a Kite

An incredible range of kites are available at the Fish Creek Kite Company in Fish Creek. Photo by Len Villano

Fish Creek Kite Company owners Toby Schlick and Val Murre-Schlick know full well that kite flying isn’t just for kids. They have an incredible range of kites packed into their little shop. The choices include deltas, diamonds and dragon kites for light to medium winds, and then on to box and parafoil kites for stronger winds.

“This is one of the seven oldest stores in the county. This is my 36th year. And I still enjoy it, that is what’s neat about it,” said Toby. “You’d probably find my mailing list really surprising: doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, preachers. Last fall I met a fellow who worked with the Hubble Telescope everyday – he’s a kite junkie. Kids are actually a relatively small part of our business.”

There are two-string kites, and flying those works like operating little bicycle handlebars. You’ve got a string in each hand. When you pull right, the kite goes right, pull left and it goes left. With four-string kites, you can fly them forward, backward, sideways, and then spin them like a propeller into a screaming power dive that stops right before it hits the ground.

Fish Creek Kite Company owners Val Murre-Schlick and Toby Schlick with their dog Max, show off a new Sky Dog kite outside their store in Fish Creek. Photo by Len Villano.

“Kite’s keep evolving, mainly because of materials. We can make things now that we couldn’t do 20 or 30 years ago,” explained Toby. “There are all kinds of levels. I have one-string, two, four and five-string kites. I have indoor kites. I have power kites that will take you right off the planet. I’m not kidding.”

Looking for a place to catch more wind, and fewer trees? Whitefish Dunes, with its vast expanses of sand, makes a great place to fly a kite. When you go to Fish Creek Kite Company, the first thing Toby will ask is: ‘Who is it for?’ That defines what kind of kite is appropriate, Toby explained. They have small sled kites that are perfect for little kids. The sled kites come in all sizes. The kite size just needs to be proportionate to the person – or else a little kid might take flight!

“There’s also the basic, single-line kite, which is a perfectly legitimate activity. You stick it up in the air, sit in the grass, and watch the clouds go by.”

The advances in kite technology have enabled people to make bigger kites with strong, lightweight materials, allowing them to fly much more efficiently. Kite makers now use fiberglass tubes that are really flexible for the frame. To lock the shape in, they use stiffer carbon fiber tubes.

“Have you seen the guys out there with the big kites – on the water over there? Popping 50 feet of air, and doing tricks? That’s kite power,” said Toby. “You can do that with skies, skates and snowboards, too. The speed record for downhill skies with kite power, on a flat surface, is 135 miles per hour.”

Internationally, and especially in Asia, kites hold special value and are wildly used spiritual rituals and festivals. In America, although sport-kites are increasingly popular, we’re a little behind the curve. But it’s not too late to catch up. Head over to Fish Creek Kite Company and catch some wind today.

Fish Creek Kite Company is located at 3903 Highway 42 in Fish Creek. For more information call 920.868.3769 or visit