This motivated 29-year old rider learned kiteboarding as he started his studies at the renowned Ecole de Commerce business school in La Rochelle, France. Ideally neighboring the seaside destination of l’Ile de Ré, Thomas took advantage of the island’s numerous sailing spots to hone his skills in his chosen sport. Equally passionate about traveling and new experiences, Thomas enjoys combining his interests with frequent “kitetrips” where he travels to favorite international kiting paradises. For the past three years, Thomas has been living in Marseille, where he opens bars and restaurants. This extroverted, enthusiastic young kiteboarder is happy to have created an upbeat and active lifestyle in which he can dovetail his business, kiteboarding travel, and the enjoyment of a home sailing spot in the middle of his chosen city.
Which disciplines of kitefoil do you practice?
Quite simply: in kiteboarding I do everything, and it’s exactly the same with foil. I love racing and waves, but at the moment I’m concentrating on getting better at big air and freestyle. I never liked limiting myself to just one discipline, therefore I’m never bored, and I have the skill set to adapt my riding style according to the conditions and the spot.
When was the first time you tried foiling, and what’s your best memory?
The first time I tried foiling was at the spot La Vielle Nouvelle in South France. The conditions were an offshore 35 knots with my 10m2 kite! While I started to feel some good and correct sensations on foil, I was still afraid I’d get blown all the way to Morocco! Finally, I started getting the hang of it and at the end of the session, I was doing long runs while flying.
My best memory is actually pretty recent: it was when I made my first kiteloop backloop and I landed without the board touching the water. Every new maneuver that I make is a small victory that stays with me.
Another great experience has been working with Kiteboarder magazine’s equipment testing team for the past two years. We spend one month in Tarifa kiting for hours and hours every day to test and write articles about all the next year’s designs. Physically it’s exhausting, but very rewarding overall and the team is incredible to work with.
Where is your favorite spot to sail?
I’ve had the chance to sail loads of spots and I love most of them, but if I had to choose, I would say my dream spot is Barra Nova in Brazil. It’s a small, flat lagoon, with 20-25 knots of wind almost daily. A little closer to my home in Marseille, I love kiting the classic spot at L’Almanarre in an offshore breeze.
Which TAAROA foil is your favorite?
Without hesitation I’d say the Sword RS! It’s the perfect foil for speed and big air. However, I use the Joy titanium with the Freeride 62 KF wing most frequently. It’s lively and rigid all at once and these qualities make it very versatile whether it’s in waves or freestyle; plus great acceleration when I want to race around with my friends.
If you had to describe TAAROA in one word, what would it be?
“Performance!” I started foiling with TAAROA – the Sword 2 was one of my very first foils. It’s with this foil that I developed a taste for speed and began progressing well. When TAAROA launched the Joy I was really happy, because this gave a more versatile foil, but with TAAROA DNA and top-of-the line quality.
Do you have a ritual before going on the water?
I’m a redhead with the skin to go with it, so I’m obliged to slap on some sunscreen before each session!
What’s the next challenge for you?
I’d love to be the first to send a foiling backloop megaloop board off. In general, it’s re-learning all the tricks I know on twintip on foil, and moving to variations no-foot and handle pass. I have to say that over the past months, we’ve been motivated by Charles Brodel, a little northerner (France) who has reached a crazy high level in foil freestyle. It’s making me want to train harder to keep nipping at his heels.
What’s your best advice for a beginner rider who wants to start foiling?
Go for it, you’ll never regret it, but don’t choose a difficult foil to start off with. It’s better to progress on an easy foil and change it later, rather than lose time trying to learn on a real war machine. Be aware however – once you start you can’t stop.