In January 2021, Antoine Auriol and his girlfriend Rocio Hernandez loaded up their camper van and set off on a two month adventure around the Iberian Peninsula. According to Antoine, “It’s really a perfect lifestyle for us because it means that you are really free and independent. You can go wherever you want at anytime, be in harmony with nature and discover really beautiful spots. It’s like you have your little house everywhere you go and that’s an an amazing feeling.”
From the sunny Mediterranean Sea to the magnificent Portuguese coastline and the incredible Pyrenees mountains, there was no shortage of kite spots to discover. We caught up with Antoine to walk us through his latest video in order to learn a bit more about the amazing spots he discovered and the gear he used.
The film begins with some pretty epic drone footage of you kitefoiling in front of a big, wide sandy beach. Where is this spot and what what your favorite thing about this session?
This is a spot called El Palmar nearby Cadiz where I live. Normally we surf quite a lot there but that day I went with my friend Thomas Ligonnet who is the drone pilot and we got some amazing shots. It was blowing 13-15 knots and I was riding my Halo kite which is perfect for light wind and my Mirage 800 foil. I like to do some double backloops kitefoiling, its a little mix of what I love; the glide of the foil with all the freestyle of my past years as a freestyle athlete.
Next up there’s some insanely beautiful footage of you wingfoiling. Where is this incredible spot?
This spot is on the Mediterranean coast between Almeria and Valencia but closer to Almeria. It’s called Playa de los Muertos, and while it’s an amazing location, the wind was really gusty, but that made it ideal to go wingfoiling. It was a bit wild because I had to walk nearly a half mile just to get down the cliff, then I pumped up my gear on the beach below. I took my 1480 Phantom foil, 4’6″ Rocket Surf and 6m Swing down there and launched from the smooth, sandy, white beach into clear water and got to spend time in nature and explore this beautiful spot with nobody around.
It looks like you scored some long and glassy foil rides. Where is this and what was the most challenging part to riding this wave?
Torimbia in Asturias in the north of Spain is a beautiful beach you have to walk quite a lot to get to as well and then go down the track from the cliffs. You can surf foil beautiful waves surrounded by big rocks and everything is green because in the north of Spain, that’s just how it is. It was a little bit cold at that time but with my Manera wetsuit I was feeling fine.
I had the Phantom 1480 which is quite a big foil, so when the waves got a bit bigger it was a tad challenging; I really had to push hard on my front foot and apply pressure to keep the foil down. The sets were not super consistent so I had to pump a lot in order to pump back out and connect waves, and with a 5/3 wetsuit, your heart quickly starts beating really fast with all that pumping, but it’s really good training!
There are some really heavy waves in your edit. Where is that and what was the best part about riding there?
I was passing by with my van and I wanted to ride in Nazare; I was alone with gusty offshore wind and nobody was out. It was pretty dangerous but I just wanted to go. I only went for 5 or 10 minutes on my Breeze 13 and Trax Carbon twin tip because it was really dangerous with no jetski and no lifejacket. Because of the conditions, I couldn’t really ride a proper wave near the lighthouse. I was happy that I got to ride in Nazare, but I’d like to go back someday and really ride it properly with some people around and some security.
Most of your footage is water-related until the end where you go snowkiting. What was it like going from water to snow?
The day before we were in the Mediterranean with only T-Shirts on. Spain and Portugal are amazing for that, so even in the winter you can have really good weather on the coast and snow in the mountains. Within just a few hours of driving you can be in a totally different place. I went to this spot with Tomar Liggonet who is a former snowboarding champ, drone pilot and a very good friend of mine so he knows the mountains very well. With the help of Google Earth, we found this amazing spot. The wind was blowing perfectly that day, the snow was perfect as well, so it was a really amazing day in the mountains.
It was only the second time I’ve ever been snowing so I was a little bit scared because I’m not really used to it — it’s like kitesurfing in 3D but I loved it because in a way it was a little bit like paragliding for me. The coolest part was to feel really free and wild surrounded by the mountains, it’s totally different than when you are on flat water in the ocean because you can always see the horizon, but this place in the mountains, there is always loads of stuff around and its really powerful and beautiful. I felt really connected to nature and was really happy there.
Out of everywhere you visited, what was your favorite spot you found on this trip?
That’s a hard question because there were many many beautiful spots but if I had to choose one it would be nearby Malpica in Galicia in the north of Spain. Its a beautiful spot where the waves are really cool and everything is super green because it rains a lot, but the days we were there the waves were perfect, there was nobody around and the sun was shining.