Former world champion kitesurfer Antoine Auriol is an energetic advocate for a better world, whether by organising kiteboarding festivals, making documentaries that highlight green projects, or pushing an environmental message on round-the-world yacht races.
Kiteboarding has been my lifestyle for more than 20 years. With this sport, I live with nature every day. I’m able to touch it, feel it. It makes my day, nourishes my soul.
I could make a really long list of places I love because everywhere I go I manage to find paradise. Anywhere you go, there are amazing places, some hidden gems that you can find if you just go a little bit off the road. And there is life everywhere. And where there is life, there is nature. And, yes, there are also the human beings. It’s the balance between these two, their happy coexistence, that I’m fascinated by.
El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cádiz
This is where I live. Because I know everyone and I know all the spots and I have many friends and I can kite there with my eyes closed.
New Caledonia, South Pacific
Before I began making documentaries, I’d often train there – it has beautiful lagoons including the biggest on Earth. It’s really far away from home and made me dream about experiencing new cultures and that’s what I am searching for in all the documentaries that I’m making – making connections.
Piha, New Zealand
I think New Zealand is really cool. I kitesurfed in a place called Piha where the beach sand is black and there’s such a wild feeling – at one point, I couldn’t even see a road because it was all hidden beneath greenery. It was really powerful.
It may not have the best conditions, but kiteboarding there was one of my best feelings ever – it was the feeling of being scared to go in the water because there are some big animals, caimans, that can eat you. So, you’re definitely not in your comfort zone.
I can feel a little bit of India – without the cows. I love the people, the food, the warm hearts … The people aren’t agressive and how they treat people is something we don’t have in France. They speak French but they don’t have this French attitude that is sometimes a bit weird.
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This article was adapted from a version that appeared in our January 2023 magazine issue.
Orginally written by Keith Bain. Photography: Francois Rousseau; Alamy / Gallo/Getty Images