For many people a sling (estrobo in Spanich, estropu in Basque) is something totally unknown, while for many others, and especially if you are from the Basque Country, this concept may be very familiar to you.
Importance of the sling in the Basque culture
The sling is a very important element in our regattas and goes back to a tradition of more than five centuries in which the fishermen of the area started and now it is used as a complement in the rowing regattas.
The sling is a piece of rope that is placed between the support point of the paddle and the paddle itself. If it gives way or breaks, we will be on our own, as we would not be able to row, which is why the sling of the oar is considered a unique and very personal piece of equipment.
To prevent this from happening, we must learn very well how to make a sling, as there are very experienced paddlers who still don’t know how to make them.
Here are some of the basic steps for making a sling.
- First, we use about 1.30 of sisal to make the sling, and undo the line completely.
- Once the line has been stripped down to its finest elements, we take 7 of them to make the sling.
- The material is then dipped in water and then rolled up again.
- Once this is done, we step on one end of the material with our foot and start turning it into a single piece.
- We form a loop by passing our right hand in front of it, we take one of the ends, twist it and pass it always from the inside to the outside and so on until it is ready.
As you can see, it is a complex process, as, although it is done in a few steps, you have to be careful, as any mistake can cause the sling to not fit properly and can cause problems during the boat.
The sling on the trainera
The trainera is the boat that was used for fishing in the past by Basque fishing boats. However, little by little and with the new lighter and more motorised boats, these trawlers have been adapted and are now used as something more recreational and sporting.
Today, the trainera is considered the official boat of Basque sporting competitions and is well known for the competitions that take place in the bay of La Concha, year after year, more specifically the first two weekends of September.
If you want to know more about the regattas of the Concha Flag check this article.
The sling is a fundamental part of the trawler, it is found inside the trawler and, as we have already mentioned, it is the ring of rope that we place between the oar support and the oar and it is what keeps us attached to the boat.
It is an essential element within the estropadak or regattas, which is usually built by each paddler and forced according to their tastes and colours.
If you are in San Sebastian during the month of September, don’t hesitate to visit the Bay of La Concha to enjoy the rowing competitions.
At Free Walking Tour San Sebastian, we offer you different tours with which you can visit this place and many more of the city. In addition, we will accompany you during the visit to explain you all the details, history and curiosities that you want to know. Contact us!