Archive for August, 2014
Hot Foot From Candelaria To The Badlands Of Guimar

My lazy legs had found their stride again, after a few months of neglecting the walking trails I dived back in with a mission to explore one of the newly promoted routes from Candelaria Ayuntamiento. It was so enjoyable I just kept on going along the east coast of Tenerife down to Guimar to make a nice long afternoon of it.

There’s a full report to come on the stretch from Candelaria basilica to Playa de La Viuda for , a 90 minute walk that revealed a little used route with plenty to offer. I bade farewell to the charming old fishing village and briefly took the road long the back of the industrial estate that contains the Mahou brewery, I’d tasted that a few months before covering a CD Tenerife promotional visit. Thoughts of beer had to be banished from my head on this scorching afternoon, my water ration was good for another few hours and El Socorro welcomed me back to the coast.

A popular bathing area, El Socorro beach was fairly busy with families and the small refreshment van under a tree was doing a steady trade. A few yards further marked the entrance to Malpais de Guimar (badlands of Guimar) a protected area of natural beauty, if you like volcanic cones and twisted lava flows this will knock you bandy. The last stretch of surfing waves was soon left behind and I was into the wide open landscape as I followed a loosely marked path. A few roughly thrown together shelters and shacks were the only signs of life as the dark, hard rock underfoot kept me alert.

I was quite shocked by the amount of rubbish left behind at the surfing zone, this gave way to natures own deposits with driftwood and discarded waste from boats driven onto the rocks by the strong tides. The wispy clouds hung quite low in the Guimar valley as the lava fields stretched up through the cones to the TF1 motorway. One of the cones, Montaña de la Mar, made a fine natural mirador to take in the view and the information on the thoughtfully provided board. This peak was formed 10,000 years ago, if that sounds a long time just consider that in terms of Tenerife’s geology this and it’s 277 metre inland neighbour, Montaña Grande, were formed in the most recent hour.

Just after this resting point I encountered a couple pushing their bicycles along the track, there was no way thy could ride them on this rough stretch, and the bad news was they would be unseated for well over another hour until they got to El Socorro. My eyes, and legs, were cheered to see an end to the lava coast as El Puertito loomed up in the distance. Another assorted collection of old fishing shacks and improvised shelters eased me onto a smoother pathway and into the very busy El Puertito. Families were packed along the quayside and the sea was a big lure for the hot and sweaty, I should have brought my swimming gear. Instead I made for a local bar, a cold beer, and a huge chocolate pastry as I reflected on another route to add to my collection.

Bless This Team But Not The LFP

It’s fair to say that CD Tenerife supporters expect a little turbulence during the football season but a full scale cock up before it even begins added a new uncertainty. No wonder the players looked more attentive than usual when they made their annual pilgrimage to the basilica for a blessing from the Virgen de Candelaria.

The LFP, Spanish FA, just about had time to put in their expenses claims from their World Cup jolly before kicking Real Murcia down to the Segunda B for not fulfilling their financial obligations. The trouble was Murcia believed they had met every demand made on them, and a court agreed with this. The LFP had already drawn the fixtures and reprieved relegated Mirandes so there we were with an unworkable 23 team league. A late court hearing saw the judge change his mind against Murcia so they were ruled out and the first weeks fixtures were ready for playing.

The final outcome came just as CD Tenerife arrived by coach at the basilca, I was there ready to start a coastal walk so snapped a few shots. The players were very casual in their white training tops while President Concepcion and his staff were immaculate in suits. Quite a few supporters mingled with the media scrum and the players signed autographs and shook hands. The beggars on the steps looked hopeful but they obviously haven’t seen the club finances, at one point I thought Concepcion was going to tap them for a loan.

Inside the imposing basilica, the players were ushered to the front pews, a church bouncer moved a few devout prayers and the service began. Some wriggled in their seats, some looked very solemn, and some like Aridane seemed to be seeking forgiveness for spurned goal chances. They were in for around one hour, I left them to it when the serious stuff started, it’s too late to redeem me and anyway my church has four floodlights and a bar nearby that serves holy water. Emerging squeaky clean and ready for another campaign the players were whisked away, maybe a few CDT scarves on the statues of the Guanche kings would have completed the scene. It’s now over to the players to turn water into Dorada and a poor pre season into promotion aspirations. Let us all sing hymn number 92.02 Chicharrero de Corazon.

Pornosurf Ride The Rock Wave To Las Galletas

A scatter gun drum barrage, thrashing guitars, and even a bopping blow up doll, Pornosurf have a new CD out and their wave of surf inspired punk washed into the rocky bay at the edge of Las Galletas. Matinal Beach Club was no place to chill out as the wonderful Tenerife band had the outside deck jumping with some classic rock and newly penned tracks from “Verano Sin Fin” (summer without end).

Originally a Ramones tribute with Beach Boy influences, they have grown over the years and are now finding a new audience, they have quite a large following in Japan. I first saw them at the Underground in El Medano and they had me hooked. Normally a three piece, Teby on bass and vocals, Javi on guitar and vocals, and Ale on drums, they were joined by keyboard player Mattia Carrara who is featured on the new disc.

The set up took a while as they perched their equipment on the edge of the decking within serving distance of the bar. As this gig was for the filming of the video promotion clip there were plenty of angles to cover with a camera on the roof and another fixed to a small photo drone plane. As we waited in the late afternoon sun, the new disc belted out 11 new tunes and an up tempo cover of the Elvis ballad Can’t Help Falling In Love. It was enough to assure me that they still have that raw edge that makes them so good.
With sun and sea bathers cooking BBQ’s and sipping cold drinks, Pornosurf ripped into the evening calm with a blistering mix of old and new. Surfing USA, Let’s Dance, Barbara Ann, Shout, and the surf instrumental favourite Wipeout had us all bouncing. The doll started off wedged between the drum kit but was soon body surfing with many helping hands, and other parts, from the audience. It was quite a precarious stage but that didn’t stop the band from climbing amps and dancing with the fans.

Rather than take their glowing bodies home, many of the beach crowd were drawn to the music and gave in to the pounding beat. These guys are real pros, no problems juggling beer and instruments at the same time. The opening slow notes of Can’t Help Falling In Love teased a few new converts into expecting a breather but once the drum kicked in it was full steam ahead. Something special was needed for a climax (no not the dolls) and it came in the form of Surfin Bird, it would have sent Peter Griffin right over the edge.


The CD, Verano Sin Fin is on sale for 8 euros at El Corte Ingles and Carrefour and some smaller independent record shops. For a taste of their live act try the Son Atlantico free concert from 5pm at Playa Honda, Las Americas on Sat 23 August and you can find plenty of their music on You Tube. Gabba Gabba Hey, there’s a corner of Las Galletas that will now always be Rockaway Beach to me.


The Great CD Tenerife Bake Off

At school I did cooking and metalwork and no one could tell the difference, thankfully CD Tenerife have an expert football chef in coach Alvaro Cervera and he is currently blending his new ingredients together. The 0-2 home loss to Las Palmas in the Copa Mahou was hard to swallow but at La Orotava the mix was much smoother and Espanyol had to work hard for their 1-0 win.

Let’s start with the Las Palmas defeat, I saw the Pios win 7-1 at CD Marino the previous night and although it sticks in my throat, I have to say they looked to have strength and depth. Tenerife offered little up front, Aridane was back to his plodding mode and the only decent home shot all night hit the post. New boys Ifran and Maxi came on late and showed flashes of form and local youth player Jorge Saenz looked comfortable in the heart of defence.

It’s always a balancing act for CDT to make their resources go around, Juanjo and Ayoze Diaz didn’t figure in the Pio game and are on the way out, Abel popped back, picked up a contract extension to 2016 and went off on loan to La Roda, and Nano was lined up for a loan to Hospitalet. The Espanyol game for the Teide Trophy, was a much better performance but again showed we need more firepower, Tenerife looked the better side in the first half and came close with a neat offside tap in from Aridane. I liked the look of our defence, new boy Unai was cool at left back but the big revelation for me was Jorge Saenz who held his place, he was strong, read the game well, and was forging a good understanding with Carlos Ruiz. Fast tracked through from the youth, the brother of ex forward German is highly rated and has just signed a three year contract – I don’t want to curse him, but maybe the new Bruno?

Espanyol were better in the second half and their danger man Caicedo found thee net after 72 minutes from a breakaway. Lots of late subs again, Alberto even got to wear the captain’s armband for a while after Suso and then Aridane had departed. Even better news came after the game with the last two signings announced, both are 26 year olds. Cristian “Ruso” Garcia is from Argentina where he played for Godoy Cruz last season but was previously with Real Murcia. Left sided Honduras international Juan Carlos Garcia arrives on loan from Wigan and will be remembered for a cracking goal v USA in the World Cup. Before the Segunda kicks off on 24 August away to Ponferradina we have Las Palmas away on Wednesday 13 August in the second leg of the Copa Mahou, and Elche at home next Sunday at a time to be confirmed. Unlike any cake I might have a hand in, the season’s hopes are beginning to rise.


Wind Assisted Wonders On El Medano Launch Pad

Skimming over the waves or slicing through the air, the 48 pilots on the PWA Windsurfing World Tour tamed nature again and again in El Medano. Always a highlight of my Tenerife sporting calendar this multi coloured spectacle turns the chilled out surfers paradise into the place to be for a week every summer.

It was business as usual at the small sandy beaches stretching away from the English style pier on the Montaña Roja side of town. Families made the most of the beach , receding in the face of the tide, and kite surfers peppered the sky above the sand dunes as others sought shade in cosy promenade cafes. But a turn around the headland and El Cabezo beach saw the wind greet us with full force, the best news we could have hoped for. This year the leading 32 men and 16 women had gathered to enjoy one of the most popular settings for their sport of choice.

The best part of a week is set aside but it often finishes early as they milk every last gust of wind and curl of wave before a lull can leave them frustrated. Two giants have emerged to dominate in recent years and were leading the way again, Philip Koster of Germany bends the elements to his will and Iballa Moreno of Gran Canaria fends off her two challengers, nature and her twin sister Daida. The pit area consists of a reserved space of beach covered in sails and boards between the public viewing zone and the raised judges hut, the nerve centre of the scoring and supervision. Each rider gets a two minute slot to showcase their best moves riding the waves or twisting the weighty board and sail combo up into the howling winds.

I was constantly mopping the spray from my camera lens as I admired the sheer strength needed to drag their mounts out into the water and then tack into the breeze to get a good run across the bay. The official window cleaner for the scoring hut was kept busy wiping the glass to ensure the judges the best of views while others perched on rocks or at the improved spectators seating near the presentation tent and food point. The international appeal of the sport is reflected in the venues, next up are Turkey and Poland, and the competitors from as far away as Australia, Hungary and the UK, I caught up with Sarah Bibby from Plymouth, pictured below on the left of Maeli Cherel from Australia.

“ This is my first time here, on the opening two days the weather was ok but it is near perfect now for me with big waves and a lighter wind. This is my first year on the PWA tour and realistically I would be pleased to get in the top ten.” Not that you could call Sarah a novice. “I have been windsurfing for 10 years, I do as much as I can in Cornwall” she came third in a four nations event back there last year and has already won the Australia river wave competition this year. An understanding employer has given her time off to chase the dream this year. “I work for Babcock at Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth docks and have just completed two years of my graduate training programme.”
All the windsurfers take the spills in their stride, I asked Sarah if she had any bad injuries, she just shrugged and casually recalled. “Well I have torn ligaments in both feet and bitten through my lip.”


It’s a long and very hot day for the competitors, they have been giving it their all from early morning until dusk at 8.30pm but for many that signals the start of a good natured social life. El Medano is always geared up for informal parties and there are plenty late gatherings with music to enjoy, there’s a special shared bond between the riders and the help and co-operation down at the pits area is very noticeable. There was another reminder of the potential danger of the sea when a swimmer had to be winched up by helicopter at 6pm in the evening, it takes a special breed to tangle with the bigger waves.The PWA elite may move on but there are plenty of keen wave riders all year round in El Medano just loving every wet, adrenaline filled moment.



New Players And Old Heroes For CD Tenerife

It was supposed to be all about new signings and emerging local youngsters but old workhorse Aridane stole the show with four goals in CD Tenerife’s 0-5 friendly win at Ibarra in El Fraile. Earlier in the day it had been reported that he might sit the game out with a knock but he looked charged up and hungry for the new season.

With no friendly against CD Marino this was our big southern gathering for the Armada Sur and of course we converged on a bar just a few strides away from the stadium. The local wild youth were on the prowl and trying to provoke us but we had Dorada and football on our minds and were blinkered to the cause. The Armada Sur Scooter Club popped along and there were plenty of the next generation of our supporters. Our new monster of a goalie Jacabo Sanz started, an early chance to stake his claim over last seasons regular Roberto, but he had little to do.

Aridane probably realizes he has to constantly prove himself to many of our fans so a fifth minute header from a Raul Camara cross gave him a kick start. Ten minutes later he pounced on a defensive error and then completed his hat trick with a neat shot over the home keeper. Suso looked lively, well when doesn’t he, and he set up another header for Aridane’s fourth marker after just 21 minutes. Just to show he’s not just goals, the big man turned provider for Cristo Martin to close the scoring after 25 minutes.

Half time saw wholesale changes on both sides with the young brigade taking over for CD Tenerife. It was a low key second half, just our luck as our hard core of fans were at the end we were supposedly attacking. Jairo showed plenty of trickery and promise, and Nano looked keen to avoid being loaned out but Ibarra played a tighter game and restored some home honour by keeping us at bay. After the final whistle the players stayed on and happily posed for photos, the selfie obsession has taken a firm hold over here, and many autographs were signed. I was a bit disgusted at a parent posing their Barcelona topped sprog with one of our players but it was all good natured and combined a handy work out with a charm offensive.

While I was back in Oxford, CDT slipped in an extra early friendly at Las Zocas, that finished in a 1-2 win with goals from Nano and 16 year old youth forward Cristo Gonzalez. There’s a busy week coming up with more testing opponents and hopefully a few more new players but for now it’s just good to get our fix of live football, it’s that golden time when anything is possible for the new season.


Oxford, Nice To See You My Old Sunshine

Stood at the beach, enclosed by the prison walls, I was taking in this unusual Oxford scene when I noticed some large Mahou beer banners outside a tapas restaurant. For a moment it was like my life had converged into one small focal point. All the temporary sand pit with deck chairs lacked was a Punch and Judy show, the former Oxford castle and jail is now a trendy food and drink area but the Swan and Castle attracted my attention for a few nights of my six day visit.

The English heat wave was crumbling into storms at various points but it stayed true for me and formed a lovely background as I looked up old friends, old brews, and the best of England’s green and pleasant countryside. A long overdue trip to London to see my friend Chrissie involved a short hop to Heathrow’s very impressive Terminal Five and a Tube ride across to Hattons Cross. The London Underground thrilled me as a toddler, delivered me safely on many sports based capital crawls, and still made me tingle as it rattled along. The Kingfisher at Chertsey Bridge was our river side destination for some good food and a catch up, followed by a stroll along the river with swans majestically gliding by.

A day later I met up with former work friend Christine in Oxford and we had a snack at The Folly restaurant down below the bridge. This time narrow boats were the main traffic on the Thames (or Isis in Oxford) at the old punting platform. I resisted the urge to go skinny dipping in the less than clear river and we walked through Christ Church meadows following a punting stretch. A sprinkling of heavy storms over recent months ensured the leafy lanes were in good form and the river level was steady, very different to the parched ground in the drought summer of 1976. I used to enjoy walking through the huge expanse of the University Parks, it’s beautiful and serene and as a “local oik” I liked the idea of invading this bastion of privilege and money.

An English country pub is always a joy to behold, so it was good to meet some more work friends (Shana, Roger, and Julie) out at The George and Dragon in Long Hanborough, I’m sure I have played Aunt Sally there many years ago. Sadly the villages and the towns are feeling the squeeze of the huge supermarkets and cheap beer, it wasn’t mega busy but no doubt an army of BBQ’s were being fired up in peoples gardens. During all my trips and a dip into the Oxford city centre pubs, The Britannia in Headington was my “local” and finish point as I relished their selection of real ales.

It’s easy to neglect the rewards right under your nose, so one afternoon I ventured into Bury Knowle park in Headington, I think I only went in there once as a kid and still have the scar from splitting my hand open in a cycling accident. What a fantastic place, a lot bigger than I expected with the regal looking Bury Knowle house containing a public library, outside there was a kids adventure area including an aerial runway, I was itching to hang on and ride down hanging from the zip line, a crazy golf course and tennis courts. The best thing of all was the nicely designed chill out areas, I thought from a distance there was a tall sculpture in the centre of the park but it was “The Storybook Tree” carved into a totem pole featuring fictional animal characters and surrounded by a circle of small benches with more characters from childrens stories. It all made me feel like kid again so I bought a dribbly ice cream from the tuck shop and slurped my way around the paths, sports pitches, and shaded corners where couples were giving in to cupids arrows. I noticed later in town that the metal ping pong tables were down by the main bus station as well as in the parks – maybe training for the next Commonwealth Games.

It was a packed trip, I also got to meet my former boss Clare at her shop in Wantage, a delightful market town full of pubs. I did limit myself to evening beer consumption and ran into a few old drinking buddies, the real ales were varied and plentiful although a trifle expensive. I even did the tourist bit with a wander around the college back streets to admire the gargoyles, one looked like Jimmy Hill. It would have been perfect if Oxford City had been at home but I will try to catch a league game at a later date. Cheers Oxford.