Traditional Basque sports, known as herri kirolak in Euskera and force basque in French, is a term that includes various sporting events that originated from work activities in the past. Betting plays an important role in them, including an economic role, among participants.
ARRAUNLARIAK / REGATTAS
These originated from when fishermen (or whalers) went out to sea on whale hunts. These days a fixed-seat boat is made up of thirteen rowers, plus a coxswain who is incharge of directing the maneuvering of the vessel.The most important competition is probably “La Bandera de La Concha” (The Flag of laConcha), which is held the first two Sundays in September.
AIZKOLARIAK / WOOD CHOPPING
This sport has its origins in woodcutting and not in logging as previously believed. The competitions are held among several participants who must cut a certain number of trunks of beech. It is an endurance test unlike contests held in Australia or Canada.
HARRI-JASOTZAILE / STONE LIFTING
One or more participants compete to lift the most weight the greatest number of times. A particular stone is used and competitors have been capable of lifting more than 300 kg.
In 1999 legendary stone lifter Iñaki Perurena lifted a 100 kg stone 1000 consecutive times.
SOKA-TIRA / TUG-OF-WAR
Sport of great popular tradition in the Basque Country (also enjoyed in many other places), and which became an Olympic sport in the first Olympics of the modern era.
Two or more teams with a certain weight limit compete with each other. Wagers and competitions between towns make for lively enjoyment and fan following.
EUSKAL PILOTA / BASQUE PELOTA (HANDBALL) PELOTA VASCA
Perhaps the only Basque sport that doesn’t have its roots in work-related tasks of the past, this has always been an activity for fun. Its attraction has crossed borders and there are competitions in the United States and other countries around the world.
It’s worth getting yourself to a frontón and experiencing the atmosphere of some existing types (handball, trinquete, Cesta Punta, Remonte…).
There are other kinds of competitions: