Riding the Boards for the November Fiesta of San Andrés

Wed, November 19th, 2014 - By Andrea Montgomery

Have you ever watched an episode of Jackass and thought you might quite like to have a go at something as mad as that? If so, get yourself one of those wooden tea trays with handles, wax the bottom so it’s as slippery as an eel dipped in oil, and get yourself along to Icod de los Vinos on the nights of 29th or 30th November. Then, launch yourself, atop your tray, down a street so steep you have to lean to stand upright, and gather enough breakneck speed to leave the ground at the slightest bump and return to earth in a blaze of sparks before finally coming to a flying halt at a mound of old tyres.


arrastre de las tablas, Icod de Los Vinos


Jackass has nothing on the youth of Icod de los Vinos.

Long before the motor car found its way to Tenerife, 17th century loggers from the sawmills of San Antonio and wine makers from the vineyards of Icod el Alto had to get their goods to the port of San Marcos for export any way they could. In Icod de los Vinos that meant loading logs and barrels onto a wooden sledge that resembled two skis held together by a palette, and hitching it up to an ox. Standing on the boards of the sledge and using a wooden staff for steering and braking, the ‘helmsman’ rode the boards down the streets. It must have taken enormous skill and strength to ensure the barrels, ox and rider didn’t all end up in a wine-covered heap at the bottom of the street.


arrastre de las tablas, Icod de los Vinos


In commemoration of this tradition, and just because they love the bravado of it all, when tradition dictates that winemakers throw open their cellar doors for the new wine on the Eve of the feast of San Andrés, the youth of Icod de los Vinos celebrate the event by practising their own version of riding the boards, or arrastre de las tablas. If you don’t fancy having a go yourself, you can go along and watch how the ‘experts’ do it instead.


Arrastre de las Tablas, Icod de los Vinos


The action takes place over the evenings of 29th and 30th November where Calle Antonio Gonzalez Glez meets Calle San Agustín and where a large mound of tyres at the bottom of the street and several Red Cross vans standing by will denote that you’ve arrived at the right place. If you’re less of Jackass and more of a Tom & Jerry person, the far less vertiginous Calle Los Franceses is where you’ll see junior riders learning their trade, watched over and photographed by mums and dads.


Arrastre de las Tablas, Icod de los Vinos


To keep spectators amused in between crash barrier antics, you’ll also find stalls selling street food of roasted chestnuts, local wine and roasted almonds.

Another place you can enjoy the wine and fiestas of San Andrés is Puerto de la Cruz where you’ll find local wine producers and local cheese producers offering samples and sales of their produce at a pop-up market around the harbour, and the local kiddies and youths pulling assorted metal chariots through the streets in their own tribute to the Scottish Saint.

Posted : Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Category : festivals & carnivals
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