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Tag: original company events

16 Sep

Traineras, history with a taste of the sea

troka Blog MICE EN Tags: ,

Traineras, history with a taste of the sea

Competición de traineras a mediadios de Siglo XX. Historia de las traineras.

Without a doubt, one of the most well known and spectacular sporting competitions that we can experience on the Cantabrian coastline are the traineras (traditional fishing boat) regattas. Rowing boats from different municipalities that competing to see which one is the fastest.

As in other sports like football, basketball or rugby, this highly professionalized sports discipline has an entire network of teams, trainers, sponsors and captains. They work every day to ensure that their boat is the best.

The world of regattas continues to attract more and more support each year, passionate about the sport. Depending on the interest in the regatta, thousands of people move around following the clubs. Also, institutions themselves promote and support these gatherings. This is due to, on one hand, they’re considered an economic driver for local municipalities hosting the trials, and on the other, they’re an expression of our culture, history and marine traditions.

Presently, different clubs are comprised of professional rowers many of whom have actually no previous ties to working at sea. However, it hasn’t always been that way.

The Origin of Trainers Linked to Fishing Work

Since bygone eras, people needed physical strength to get their boats to reach grounds where they carried out their fishing work. Rowing was a necessary compliment to the power of the wind. These boats normally comprised of 13 rowers and a captain. The latter was generally the owner of the boat, oars, nets and other fishing-related tools.

The crew were usually contracted via a verbal agreement spelling out the working conditions and proportional sharing out of the earnings from selling the captured fish. Generally, it was done in the following way… The fish were sold and total income calculated, the expenses from buying supplies and other types of provisions, such as bait for fishing would be subtracted. Once covering these expenses, the 25% remaining was to take care of any damage and repairs to nets and the boat. The rest would be divided in equal parts amongst the crew.

Normally, the boats that arrived early to port with their cargo sold their fish at the best price in the auctions. This started to generate certain number of disputes amongst the separate fishing crew.

The Origin of the Trainers Related to Hauling or Towing

Another job done by these boats was the ‘atoaje’ (towing) or hauling of fishing or cargo vessels of enormous sizes, up to the port. Work was carried out in ports like Bilbao or Pasaia and was profitable.

This labour intensive work was also left to the fishing crew. The tougher ones and the more experienced would approach the larger fishing or cargo boats with their traineras, sometimes miles away from the port, to later tow them in. As it was well-paid work, there were races to see who could arrive first.

In fact, the first competition documented amongst traineras dates back to the year 1854 featuring three boats of Pasaia dedicated to towing work.

The ‘Alas’, boats for transporting goods

Aside from the traineras, another type of boat existed used for transporting goods, and occasionally, people. They were known as ‘alas’ or wings.
They were constructed out of wood and were generally eight to nine metres long. They were flat bottomed, had a narrow and flat stern and a flat and pointed bow that would permit them to dock in sand and silts. There were also ‘alas’ dedicated to fishing, in which case their measurements varied reaching up to between 10 and 12 metres long.

In any case, they were mostly used for transporting goods. Between one bank of the river and the other, between the ports and the wharves and the anchored boats at the port entrances.

Currently, the cider houses Petritegi and Lizeaga have promoted an initiative called ‘Urumea, Sagardoren Ibaia’. The aim is to highlight the important work carried out by the boats that used the river Urumea iban de Astigarraga to San Sebastian (Donostia) transporting every type of merchandise, specifically cider, produced on farms further up river.

The arrival of the steam engine

With the arrival of the steam engine, at the end of the 19th century, the need for rowers began to disappear. It was no longer necessary to have an enormous workforce of rowers to reach fishing grounds or to tow-in the great fishing or cargo boats that wanted to approach the port.

From that moment, their work went from being a necessary activity to being transformed into a tradition turned competition.

Trainers as a Sporting Event

As we mentioned earlier, in the year 1854 and during the festivities of San Juan (Gipuzkoa region) the first documented competition of traineras is recorded. The participants were rowers from Pasaia dedicated to ‘atoaje’ or towing, and the crew of the trainera ‘San Pedro la ganadora’.

Despite the fact that work for traineras was no longer necessary, the competitions amongst the different crew continued thanks to the passion of the coastal population.

Therefore, the first competition of the Bandera de La Concha (San Sebastian) was held in 1879. San Sebastian City Council included this sporting event in its programme for the festivities of the San Sebastian week long ‘Semana Grande’. From that date onwards and given the success of the first event, they made the decision to celebrate the regatta every year.

Remeros de traineras luchando contra las olas en plena competición. Historia de las traineras.

From Fishing Boats to Competition Boats

Until 1916 they continued using the traditional fishing boats in the sporting regattas. However, that year Vicente Olazabal fabricated, for the crew of Getaria, a sleek boat weighing 400 kg of which they baptized with the name ‘Golondrina’. Much later in 1944, Pedreña constructed a boat that weighed just 165 kg of which they gave the name ‘Cantabria’.

No longer needed for its original purpose, the design of the boats started changing and adapting to competitive needs. Since 1930, the sizes of the traineras are 12 metres in length, 1,75 m in width and 0,9 m in depth approximately. Furthermore, the weight began reducing making it faster and easier to move.

Modern trainers have little to do with those needed for fishing or towing back in their day. Even the way of rowing is different, adapting itself to the new boats and its uses.

Even the function of the captain has changed. Before, they were the owners of the fishing and rowing boats and had ultimate command. Nowadays, a diversification of roles exists. There are physical trainers, sports physicians, head coaches, technical trainers. The captain is no longer the senior rower with acquired knowledge and leadership qualities directing the boat with a strong hand. Today, the work is done by young sports people prepared for work, skilled in rowing or steering and capable of keeping the boat directed. Neither are the rowers the seamen that carried out towing work or took their boats up to the ports. Today the total practice of the rowers are as professional sportspeople, selected for sports teams and in many occasions with little or no connection to the sea, excepting the competition.

Tradition, Sport and Entertainment

Trainers are without a doubt one of the traditions, thanks to the sporting practice and the competition, maintained in collective memory right until today. That is why, up to now, old and young, women and men gather from miles around to take part at the different events celebrated across the length and breadth of the Cantabrian coastline.

At Troka Abentura we’re passionate about the boats, we love our traditions and we live with the sea, so much so that we have all the ingredients to be enthusiasts of this beautiful and demanding sports practice.

For that reason it would be fantastic to convert and adapt this practice into an experience directed at companies wanting to work on groups and team building dynamics. That is how the experience ‘traineras for company events’ was started. An activity aimed at businesses whereby participants can put themselves in the seat of a rower and together, as a team, row through waters of the Cantabrian sea.

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Basque trilogy

troka Blog MICE EN Tags: , , ,

Basque trilogy

The MICE sector seems to grow year after year. We, as the companies committed to this niche market try to develop proposals that, while being original, serve to complete the objectives established in each one of the events that we organise or take part in.

On the other hand, our clients look for experiences, unique and unparalleled sensations. This means that, as providers of this type of experience, we must always be one step ahead, thinking, developing and giving form to new proposals adapted to the taste and needs of each client.

The ‘Basque trilogy’, is in part, outcome of this effort and in part, the result of the passion we feel for our tradition and culture. On many occasions looking back is eye opening and the outcomes always equally unexpected and surprising.

This is how the proposal came into existence; consisting of three different experiences that are rooted in the traditions of our ancestors and in the work and labour that they carried out in the field and at sea.

With time and modernisation much of the processes were discontinued. Some fell by the wayside, others have lasted until now and become challenges initiated amongst ’baserritarras’ or farmers, on many occasions, be means of betting. Cutting logs with axes, dragging and lifting weights, collecting corn cobs, tilling a field or rowing a ’trainera’or fishing boat tasks; no longer associated with farmers and fishermen. Now, they have been converted into expressions of a culture and a tradition reflected in the different forms of Basque rural sports or Herri Kirolak as they are known in the Basque Country.

From here on, at Troka Abentura, we have managed to give form to the proposals that bring participants closer to our culture and at the same time puts them in the shoes of a ‘baserritarra’(farmer) or a rower from long ago.

Exihibición de deporte rural vasco-herri kirolak

The first experience to which we titled Herri Kirolak Exhibición is exactly about that, an exhibition of the most representative types of Basque Rural Sports, stone lifting, wood chopping, Basque pelota (handball), cesta punta (basket tip pelota) amongst others. For this purpose and led by professional sportspersons; the participants discover the origins of the different sports disciplines, their principal characteristics and particularities so that later on they can be witnesses to a live demonstration of a few of them.

Actividad de herri kirolak participación para empresas

The second proposal of this trilogy we have called ‘Herri Kirolak Participation’. It’s an experience based on the work carried out by baserritarras (farmers) in the fields consisting of different challenges whereby participants must compete in teams to see who can get the most points. Hay bale lifting, weight or stone dragging, tug-of-war or the cob gathering race are some of the challenges that we propose in this activity. An experience that tests the muscles, intelligence and coordination of each team.

Actividad de traineras para grupos de empresas

The third activity that we propose, and not less interesting, is named Traineras (rowers) and will submerge the participants in the waters of the Cantabrian sea. Once converted into rowers they need to follow the orders of the skipper (an experienced rower) and all row a fishing boat to follow a marked-out course in the least possible time. Team work, coordination, collaboration and effort always carried out in a fun way.

We adapt to your needs

In Troka Abentura we contemplate these experiences not as monolithic and closed activities. We aim for our proposals can be adapted to the needs and objectives of those agencies and organisations that put their trust in us.

For example, there are agencies that want to combine the three activities into one or simply only two of them. We also have requests from companies or agencies that prefer not to commute to our activity base and prefer that we move the chosen activity to another location. Provided it is possible, at Troka Abentura we will do it.

Ask us for information and step into our culture in a fun and original way!


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Aizkolari golpeando un tronco con su acha. Eventos originales para empresas en el País Vasco.

The MICE industry is growing. More and more national and international companies and agencies wish to organise company events.

For events agencies, innovation and originality are key, in order to offer different activities and experiences to their clients. Organisations, as well as people that will participate to the events, should end up satisfied and planned targets should be met.

Here at Troka Abentura, we’ve dedicated ourselves to active adventure tourism for 20 years, working with a large scope of clients. We’ve gained a wide experience of the MICE industry, and many agencies trust our professionalism one year after another to organise a company event full of experiences and emotions.

Original company experiences in natural environments

We create original company experiences in natural environments. Our activity platform is located in an exceptional environment. It benefits from more than 2000 square metres of outdoor space, next to the Gorliz and Plentzia beach, 25 kilometres away from Bilbao.

On top of that, we love our culture and traditions and think that they can inspire a lot of fun, exciting and original propositions, connected to our history, which brings extra value to each experience.

One of our innovative proposals is named ‘the Basque trilogy’. It consists in three experiences, deeply rooted into our culture, which are acclaimed by the agencies and companies with which we usually collaborate.

Actividad de traineras para empresas. Participantes saludando. Eventos originales para empresas en el País Vasco.

The first of them is called ‘Herri Kirolak Exhibition’. This experience offers the discovery of the main rural sports performed in the Basque Country. During them, professional athletes will explain the origin of those sports, the equipment used and the main characteristics, ending by an exhibition.

This way, participants will be able to discover sports such as stone raising, wood chopping, pelota mano, pala, or cesta punta.

The second experience from the ‘Basque trilogy’ is called ‘Basque Rural Sports Participation’. This fun and dynamic activity, just like the first one, is intimately connected to the traditions from Basque Country. In it, we have adapted and converted in challenges different Basque rural sports. This activity is ideal for groups which want to work on group dynamics, team building and leadership.

During Basque Rural Sports Participation, the different teams will compete to obtain more points by playing different Basque rural sports. Soka tira (tug-of-war), raising a straw bale, ‘stone’ dragging, or corn-cob race are among the different challenges that participants will have to overcome.

Last, but not least, the third experience from the ‘Basque trilogy’ is the ‘Traineras’ (row boats) activity. Traineras are typical row boats from the Cantabrian coast, that used to be for fishing but are now involved into regattas.

This is for sure one of our most popular activities, very connected to the Basque tradition and culture. Various teams, various row boats, people serving as captain and participants experiencing by themselves how it feels to row in a trainera. They will traverse places such as Plentzia, Barrika, Getxo, Bilbao … competing against each other. A great experience based on team work.

This Basque trilogy can’t be complete without the possibility to enjoy some pintxos (Basque tapas) as well as wine and txakoli (Basque white wine), which are an essential part of the Basque gastronomy.

Original company experiences in urban environments

Troka Abentura designs original company experiences in urban environments as well. Traditions and technology go hand in hand on these, combining in the same activity culture, history and technology.

Ginkana Ipad. Eventos originales para empresas en entornos rurales.

Discovery, a destination through the iPad is an activity for companies designed to take place in an urban environment, enabling us to discover the culture, history, gastronomy and particularities of cities such as Bilbao, San Sebastian or Vitoria.

Through challenges, questions and riddles, the different teams will get to know the experienced destination. The whole activity is moderated thanks to an iPad, carried by each team.

With the Ginkana Cuadrilla iPad, we discover how it feels to be a Basque ‘cuadrilla’ (typical large group of friends) in the streets of Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria or any other Basque city, while learning about the culture and traditions of the place through fun challenges.

Each group will take with itself an iPad and a basket with diverse goods, which will help to overcome the challenges. This very fun team-building experience is adaptable to any environment.

When organising an event, it is important to count with ideas, activities and experiences we can use to build the event that the company is looking for. We need to adapt the offer to this specific project, looking for customisation and exclusivity. That’s why more propositions to build events are available in our MICE section. If you wish to organise an original company event, please make sure to contact us. Tell us about your idea, and we’ll convert it into reality.


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