Meet Frances Osorio Rivera: a pure waterwoman… who rides on one leg!

Meet Frances Osorio Rivera, aka La Fran Kite, a one-legged kitesurfer and US Army veteran. Kitesurfing, SUPing, wingfoiling, skateboarding… Frances is a pure waterwoman rider, except that she does it all on one leg! Originally from Puerto Rico, Frances has always been involved in water sports, and has also swum at a high level. Unfortunately, an accident cost her her leg. Today, Frances is based in Florida, surrounded by wind and ocean, where she is Cabrinha-Dakine Exports Manager, who also works with Adventure Sports USA. Frances tells us about her career and how she managed to adapt after her accident, so that she could continue to practice her board sports… and even learn to foil!

Photo: @arnold1956newman

Who you are and what’s your story?

My name is Frances; i have been an adaptive athlete and advocate for the last decade. I am a below the knee amputee.

Did you practice water sports and kitesurfing in particular before you lost your leg?

I am an Island Girl; born and raised in Puerto Rico. Since a young age i was involved in watersports. I was a high level swimmer (second fastest in 50m freestyle by the age of 12 and competed internationally) as well as Boogie boarding, surfing, free dive.

How did you manage to adapt? What challenges did you have to face?

I managed to adapt once I had a taste of how the endless circle of being depressed was and how it would just be that sadness unless I did something about it. The alternative (being active, striving even when sucking) trying new things, putting yourself out there is just so much much much rewarding and joyful.

Well having a disability means that everything becomes more challenging (except for nice front parking spots and priority boarding on flights). And not having a disability until my adult life meant that accepting that life was never going to be the same was specially more challenging. The mental aspect of it I would say is the most challenging. The ego, knowing that you used to do something and now it’s hard used to hurt my soul.  A decade later I just accept the fact that I need to be patient and with lots of repetition I will eventually get where I want to be; and thats ok.

You even learned to foil, even though it’s a sport that puts a lot of demands on the lower limbs, so, everything is possible?

With time, drive and patience yes anything is possible. Foiling has been kicking my ass for a long time and because of its challenges I’ve always being more lenient to twin tip but with winging becoming such a popular sport you see me now more and more in the foil no matter the wind conditions. And with every single session more progression.

Photo: @arnold1956newman

What about your equipment? Is it adapted equipment or do you have a prosthesis adapted for water sports that you can use for kitesurfing, winging etc.?

I have a couple of legs that either have components that make the Ocean not be so corrosive and destroy the leg or adaptations with wedges in order to give me the right angle when doing kiteboarding in order to not overuse the hips and knees.

Photo: @arnold1956newman

What’s your connection with Adventures Sports USA?

I am a territory manager – sales representative for their distribution side with Cabrinha and Dakine for Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

You’re Cabrinha-Dakine Exports Manager, what does your job involve?

A lot of Administrative work. Day to day communication with our partners, scout for new locations, centers, retailers, new Ambassadors and team riders. Visit key accounts and do demos to create more engagement.

Photo: @flokorzer

And finally, do you have a message for disabled people who’d like to take up wing or kiteboarding but don’t think it’s possible?

Absolutely; watersports are a great venue for anyone. Find a good team that will hold your hand every step of the way, and don’t get deterred by it taking time, enjoy the journey. It’s so rewarding every little success and no matter how many times you fall at the end of the day you’re out in Nature, in the Ocean and that in itself it’s a win.

Thank you Frances! If you’d like to find out more about Frances and her story, we invite you to watch the short film “Endure the Suck” by Isaac Mead-Long. You’ll see, it’s inspiring!

Follow Frances :
Instagram @la_fran_kite

More info about Adventure Sports USA:
Official Website / Facebook / Instagram

About the Author

Laurie Montagner

From SUP Racing to wing foiling, through windsurfing, wakesurfing and surfing, you will always find Laurie somewhere in the South-West of France. Passionate about watersports, Laurie spends her time surfing, whether on the wave... or online! Laurie is indeed a specialist in social media marketing and web development, from writing lines of code to making professional videos. Very much a competitor, you've probably already met her on one of the SUP and wing events all over France!

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