Ryan Stratis is one of only four American Ninja Warrior competitors who have competed on every single season of the show. That means he’s been a Ninja for a full decade. He’s seen the show grow and change. He’s experienced the highs and lows of being a part of it.
And he decided to come out swinging for his tenth year. When Ryan took on the Miami Qualifying course, he put all his years of experience on display. He was also the only Ninja to clear the Mega Wall, starting off his season with $10,000
After his Qualifying run, and before he moved on to the City Finals, we caught up with Ryan to see how he was feeling.
Any moment on the course that made you a little unsure?
RS: Definitely obstacles 3, 4, and 5. Razor’s Edge, that’s a tricky balance obstacle. The Ring Turn, that was tripping up a lot of people. That was definitely a Ninja Killer that night. And then if you managed to get through that, the Slippery Summit was another one if you didn’t have really great technique, that’s going to take you out.
What was your experience on the Ring Turn?
RS: I got on the Ring Turn and kept my swing going. I had barely grabbed on to the second ring, but once I was able to snag it, I had great swing all the way through and was managing to get my way up to the platform without too much issue.
And Slippery Summit?
RS: That thing was tough. It was one of those things where you know how to do a Salmon Ladder motion but with the actual beam above your head, and you don’t know where the bar is going to go because there’s no indication of where the notches are, you just kind of give it your best to hopefully hit the next rung. That’s what was gassing people out. That’s what was tricky about that obstacle.
Did you know you were going for the Mega Wall?
RS: Oh for sure. I knew I would be going for that 18-footer as soon as I got to it. You’ve done these 14-footers for years now, and you have an opportunity to get some more money and challenge yourself at the same time? Why not go for it.
Any advice for others on the Mega Wall?
RS: Go fast! It’s not much of a run up. You have maybe two or three steps and measure your steps if you can. Work them legs! You need some frog legs to get up that thing.
How’s it feel to start off your tenth season with $10k?
RS: Ah, it’s awesome, man. I never would have thought that they would do something like this. I was so used to just coming here, performing and having a great time. But they have these incentives now and it’s a great opportunity for some of us long time Ninjas.
What did you think of the field of Ninjas in Miami?
RS: It was great. Saw a lot of new, young competitors coming out with gusto and giving it their all. Some surprises, sadly! We saw some vets that took some early tumbles. JJ Woods. I’m really sad about that one. It was a tough course. Really brutal.
How are you feeling before the City Finals?
RS: I’m good. I’m ready. I’m keeping my beard. Brett and I are going for back to back buzzer slaps. He’s up on the advantage this time because I’m going to go first. So he’ll know what time he has to beat. So that means I need to get as far as I can as fast as I can. Hopefully hit that buzzer and put the pressure on him. I want him to still hit that buzzer too. I don’t want him to fall somewhere trying to beat me. I’d rather us both got to Vegas, and one of us lose a beard.
The Battle of the Beards begins tonight! @mr.brettsims and I have been friends as long as #ANW has been around. We first met at season 1 and have trained together over the years and competed along side each other many times. BUT THIS TIME hes gone too far and has insulted my beard lol. Beards before bros!! Which one of us will do better in tonight's episode and who has the better beard?? #beards #beardsofinstagram #beardedvillains #vikings #beard #ANW #americanninjawarrior #miami #nbc #obstacles #ocr #gametime
Sounds like you’re so confident about Vegas that you’re mostly just worried about your beard.
RS: I’m always worried about the course. But the beard is an extra concern this time around.
How far are you going this season?
RS: This year, I‘m doing the best I’ve ever done. I want to be going all the way this year. It’s all in my grasp. Not letting it slip through my fingers.
Ryan will be back on the course in a few weeks for the Miami City Finals!