Antoine Auriol flew his kite in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park

February 12, 2019 | Kiteboarding
Buen Retiro Park: Antoine Auriol went kitesurfing in the heart of Madrid

It might not make sense, but Antoine Auriol went kitesurfing in the center of Madrid.

Despite being a landlocked city, the Spanish capital has plenty of bodies of water, including lakes, and the iconic Manzanares River that crosses Madrid from north to south.

But the city in which Emilio Butragueño, Penélope Cruz, and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada were born is also home to the famous Buen Retiro Park - in English, Park of the Pleasant Retreat.

The 1.4 square-kilometer green playground dates back to 16834 and has a long history of updates, changes, and restorations. One of its main features is the Retiro Pond, a lake where rowboats are rented, and ducks swim in cold waters.

A Gusty Park

Antoine Auriol, who has already ridden his kite in the heart of Manhattan, and in front of Paris' Eiffel Tower, waited eight months for this to happen.

When the French got the right wind alert, he jumped on a train and headed Madrid. His goal was to ride El Retiro.

"I knew it was going to be tricky because parks with many trees tend to be gusty. Fortunately, I met a couple of kitesurfers that were walking nearby who helped me launch the kite," explains Antoine Auriol.

The lake at Buen Retiro Park was once used in the 17th century by Felipe VI of Spain and his advisers to recreate naval battles. This time, the only sail in the water was a kite.

"So, I jumped in the water and rode my kite alongside the ducks. I have fulfilled one of my dreams."

The Summer Surf Gear Guide 2019