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TRADITIONAL LOCAL SPORTSTRADITIONAL LOCAL SPORTS
SPORTSTRADITIONAL LOCAL SPORTS11 AUGUST 2022

SALTO DEL PASTOR

"Salto del pastor" (meaning shepherd's leap) is a folk sport inherited from the Guanches, aboriginal inhabitants, practiced throughout the Canary Islands. Its origin is in the Canarian shepeherd's means of tranporting themselves across ravines and steep embankments. However, currently the practice is a bit different. 

It consists in going from one place to another on a natural space with the aid of a long wooden pole known as garrote fitted with a sharp metal part for leaning on the ground. The practice of this sport includes climbing up and jumping over walls, speedy descents down steep rocks, precision leaps, acrobatic feats and leaps of various styles.

There are a great variety of clubs in a federation dedicated to this activity in Tenerife.

Material: a pole, known as regatón, thinner on the upper end and thicker on the lower end, covered with a metal piece with a sharp end. To this metallic end is made up to stick to the ground, helping the leaper to balance. The length of the pole ranges from 2 and 4 metres depending on the area and the person who uses it, being shorter on lower areas and longer in higher and more dangerous areas. 

Development: there are several ways of using the pole to transportating oneself across the cliffs:

  • Feet together leaps. The most common leaps because the offer more safety to the leapers, since the legs flex to descend with the pole betweent them, reaching the ground gently.

  • Pole sliding. The stick is used to slowly slide on it and the leaper walks too.

  • Band leaps. Legs flex in the same way that they do during feet together leaps, but now they touch the pole on their outer sides. This kind of leaps allows to touch the ground and keep walking immediately.

  • Side-to-side leaps. The leaper uses the same technique than for band leaps, but now precision in touching the ground is extremely important. Sometimes sliding on the pole will not be necessary, sometimes it will, and sometimes the leaper will need to propel themselves upwards by leaning on the pole. 

  • Climbing. The body needs to be leaned on on the pole edgewise, and then the leaper starts to climb up, always leaning on the pole and alternating hand and foot moves.

  • Dead drop. It involves a leap into space from heights of up to eight metres, jamming their pole into the ground below and then sliding down the pole. It is necessary when the distance from the leaping point to the landing point is longer than the pole. The pole and the leaper are for a few seconds in the aire until the pole touches the ground. 

  • Bordoneo. The pole needs to be grabbed by the middle with a distance between the leaper's hands similar to the one between shoulders. Alternately the leaper will lean the pole, its end on the ground, propeling themselves a few metres forward. 

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