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Try your hand at a new sport in Biarritz  21/03/2014

Biarritz has all the typical activities you'd expect to find at a beachside resort - swimming, surfing, boating, fishing and diving are all world-class in this glorious city located on the exquisite Bay of Biscay. The luxury resort is particularly renowned among surfers, who travel from all over the world to enjoy some of the finest waves that the Atlantic has to muster.

If you're looking to try your hand at any of these activities during your next holiday in France, Biarritz is a great choice of destination and you'll be well-served by its amenities and facilities. But there is more to discover here if you scratch under the surface. And one of the more unique aspects to life in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques town is a sport that most people in the UK won't even have heard of: Basque Pelota.

Popular in many parts of France and Spain, the court-based sport has a particularly strong following in Biarritz and you'll have plenty of opportunities to try it out for yourself or watch some of the world's best players duking it out with one another. So what exactly is this sport?

There are dozens of variations of the game, but all involve the use of a ball on a long court.

Players use their hand, a racket or a wooden bat to hit the ball against the wall. The most-used piece of equipment is a curved basket that is worn on one hand and allows the ball to be caught from in the air then released at great speeds

Traditionally, there are two teams on the court, separated by a line on the ground or a net

Despite its roots in ancient games, the sport also has a futuristic look to those who have not played before, thanks to the unusual appearance of the equipment and the dimensions of the court.

It is the fastest ball-based sport on earth, with speeds averaging as much as 170mph and having been recorded travelling in excess of 200mph.

The ball is harder than a baseball though, so wearing protective gear including helmets is very important!

While the most popular version of the game in Biarritz is La Pala, the most exciting for spectators is Cesta punta and you can watch this being played at the Jai-Alai: an impressive indoor venue dedicated to the sport.


Any views or opinions expressed in all articles under the title “Carisma News” are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Carisma Holidays Limited

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