Meet the Girl from the Wing Grom Squad

Mary Rose Kissinger talks why she loves wingfoiling, her favorite gear and what it's like getting into the sport.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mary Rose Kissinger. I’m a seventeen-year-old water woman who has had the privilege of living in Hood River, Oregon for the summer and fall months, and La Ventana, BCS, Mexico for the winter and spring. Having lived in these two places, it’s been pretty much impossible not to fall in love with the wind and water. I grew up surrounded by some of the best sports in the world, and because of that, I have gotten hooked on pretty much every sport you can do in and on the water. 

My love for watersports started in 2014 when I joined the Big Winds JET SUP team. I was 10 years old when I started paddling competitively and competed for four years. After learning how to read the wind and water through paddling, I started kiting in 2017 and was instantly enthused by the feeling of the speed and power I was able to generate with a kite. My mom is a kite instructor and was the one who taught me. I was 13 at the time. Then came winging, my friends Chris and Christopher MacDonald taught me during the summer of 2020 in Hood River, Oregon. Winging has helped me beat out the Covid doldrums throughout this past year. I still love all my sports but currently winging has taken the top spot. Having wingfoiled in some incredible locations, it’s very hard to choose which spot is my favorite. Every spot I wing I have a blast on the water, but if I had to pick one to be a favorite currently, I would say La Ventana. La Ventana gets what we call an “El Norte.” An “El Norte” is a building high in the southwest of the United States that brings strong winds and big swell to all of the Sea of Cortez. Those conditions set up to be a winger’s dream; perfect side shore swell following the bay’s shoreline. When it sets up like that, you will most likely see me on the water from dawn to dusk. 

A part of winging I love so much is the playfulness of the sport. When I’m on the water there seems to be endless amount of things to do. There is something about the sport being so young and advancing so fast that makes every moment of it captivating to me. I never seem to get bored on the water because there is always a new area of winging to explore. No one has any idea where winging will lead us; we don’t even know what will be new by the end of the week, much less in a year or more. Athletes and brands have been continuously pushing the limits of winging, with new tricks, bigger waves as well as new and improved equipment.

I’ve been continuously impressed by F-One’s products. The 1080 Phantom front wing with an 85cm mast has been a perfect setup and is what I use everyday. This foil allows me to do everything from wave riding to freestyle airs. Who knows where this foil setup will take me. For wings, it is impossible to pick a favorite between the Strike and the Swing. I’ve spent less time riding the Strike but the handful of times I have it blew my mind. The Strike provides an amazing upwind speed, jumping power, as well as keeps power through turns. The Swing, which I have spent most of my time on, is a perfect all-around wing. I love the steadiness and reliability of the Swing. Both wings exceed in all categories. F-one has been continuing to push the world of winging with their flawless gear and I’m super stoked to have the opportunity to test all of F-one’s high quality equipment.

An interesting observation of mine is the large presence of women in the sport. I see women of all ages learning and shredding on the wing. With wingfoiling, all of your equipment and power is within an arm’s reach which gives a much safer feel. I think that is a big reason it has been so popular with women. While there may have been some anxiety with kiting, winging gives a much more in-control feeling. So if you have felt intimidated by kiting or other sports wingfoiling may be the ideal sport for you. I know for me, it’s my perfect sport.

Wingfoiling is such a young sport and more and more people are wanting to learn. My biggest tip for someone who has been wanting to learn is to do it, just do it. Winging is a big trial and error sport, so you need to get on the water and practice. It definitely takes some persistence and perseverance and my dad is a good example; he went from being somewhat hesitant to running up the beach to get his turn on the rig. If my dad can do it, you can too. I assure you that with time and work on the water you will get over the learning hump.

I am super happy I get to be part of such an amazing sport with a wonderful community of people. Winging gives us an opportunity to join a collective of people that make the wind and water our own personal playground. See you out there!

Mary Rose’s Favorite Gear:

Mary Rose is a member of F-One America’s Wing Grom Squad. Follow her on Instagram here.