Archive for July, 2011
Santa Cruz Gripped By Bike Fever But Left Cold By Half Nelson

What a good way to start the weekend, hanging around the docks with sailors and hairy bikers, ooh do you know I think that could be taken the wrong way by some mucky minds. This was all in the line of work, leaping out of bed early I caught the Titsa bus to Santa Cruz and was sat outside a cafe with a coffee and a salami and cheese bocadillo by 9 am. Tenerife’s capital city slowly kicks into action on a Saturday morning, most shops hadn’t opened yet and it was quiet as I walked through to the ferry port. The ongoing work to the Via Litoral meant a slight detour and has also seen the monument to Nelson taken into storage for a while, but more of the Admiral later.

Following a lone Vespa round to the Armas ferry quayside I found a swarm of them all gearing up for their Vespasion tour of north Tenerife and awaiting more scooters from Gran Canaria. I’d had a small preview when Vespas helped set the tone for the Peroni calendar shoot a week ago and had followed up the local enthusiasts on their website. But what was this, a large group of bikers was set up a few yards away and more Harleys, Hondas and Suzukis were sweeping into the parking area. Thankfully I wasn’t in the middle of a turf war, just great minds thinking alike, the biker fans were also having a north Tenerife rally and two day tour. I’ve never had a moped, scooter or chopper, speedway was the closest I came to engine envy, but caught in this Quadrophenia meets Born To Be Wild scenario I was very impressed with these classic motors. The ferry arrived late and more merry motorcyclists poured down the gangplank boosting the gathering to around 200 with a 50 50 split of scooters and bikers. There’s a full report and photos galore at

I felt a stirring and a call to arms, this was no ordinary weekend but the anniversary of Nelsons thwarted invasion of Tenerife in 1797 and a small scale march was set for the city centre soon after noon so I had to head inland. The actual anniversary day is 25 July and the local historical group for La Gesta had planned events for Saturday to Monday but budgets and cultural funding have been slashed so it all came down to a few good men, a replica canon and some dry ships biscuits.

Taking a drink and a catch up of the local papers in Plaza del Candelaria there was a small demo being made against cruelty to animals with some owners accompanied by their dogs on leads. An advance trooper from the Nelson march was handing out leaflets and fending off sniffing pooches, the protesters were in no hurry to move on, could have made an interesting mix as a naughty dog widdled on the gunpowder and changed the course of history. Refreshed I cut through to Plaza del Principe where the small group of soldiers were posing with rifles and the 2006 built replica canon on wheels. I recognised some of the players from previous years. Nelson wasn’t there himself, he was an early injury having his arm shattered after just stepping foot on Tenerife soil. Shoppers and strollers tagged along as the group marched down towards Plaza de España, there seemed to be quite a bit of artisitic licence at play with the main characters, one figure looked more like Mussolini.

A steady drum beat and a police escort later the soldiers were stood to attention at the edge of the Plaza de España lake with the canon facing out to sea – were they going to shell Las Palmas? There was an agonizing wait when it seemed that the canon might not fire but fair play when it blew it had quite a punch and scattered pigeons to the four winds. That was about it for the re-enactment, no sea invasion with musket fire and full battle like last year and no marking the main points of the story arouns the city. I couldn’t help thinking that although it’s great to see history preserved, maybe it might be better to make this a sporadic affair, maybe every two years to justify a decent budget.

The memory of the battle will never be forgotten, the Tiger canon is on display down below Plaza de España among the remains of the city wall. If you want a very modern tribute to this part of history check out a new locally developed computer video game that features a young Canarian boy and his dog Tigre slipping back in time to take part in the battle.

CD Tenerife Fail To Ignite In Granadilla Friendly Defeat

In the great barbecue of football this first friendly game was the burnt neglected sauasge rather than prime steak but it’s very early days and so good to have CD Tenerife back in action. Granadilla looked the marginally better of the teams and ran out 2-1 winners, they had the advantage of having familiar team mates from a side that just missed out on promotion in the Tercera division play offs. Tenerife’s new siginings and B team youngsters made for a strange line up and with no team sheet and last years shirts we were struggling to work out who was who.

Meeting up pre match with the Frente at the barbecue area on the edge of town we were able to lubricate our voices and enjoy a master class from The General and Andy in fire lighting, I don’t think either were in the scouts although Andy claims to have had experience with the girl guides. It was a cloudy evening and quite cool compared with the south but nice to see old friends again so with some lightly warmed food in our stomachs we headed up to the ground. The CDT President worked a reduction for a large gang of us and we got in for 4 euros rather than 10, well that’s the least he owes us after the past 2 seasons.

Granadilla is a nice compact ground with an artificial pitch, some of our group headed for the bar but some of us had smuggled beer in and took our place on the far corner of the terracing.A few flares burst into life spreading a red haze across the stadium before the players ran out, it was spot the known face for us. Dani Mederos (above) from the B team was in goal, Luna was captain and in the heart of defence but apart from that it was guess work. Granadilla started strongly and caught the CDT defence cold, Peraza gave the home side the lead after 10 minutes and some failed clearances from our rear guard. A joke goal 5 minutes later made it 2-0, Carlitos scored when clearly way offside, the General raced around the pitch to impart some constructive criticism to the linesman but was told he was Croatian and understood little Spanish.

The second half saw wholesale changes, returning forward Kiko Raton gave Granadilla problems with his size and will be a great target man this season, Josmar came on and did some of his trickery but his passing let him down. The floodlights were poor and some areas of the pitch were like no go areas, another flare failed to dispel the gloom. Tenerife played better and started to put some moves together, Juan Ramos was fouled in the box and new boy Victor Bravo (without his friends Charlie Tango and Pappa Lima) converted the penalty. At times the game got so dull that we were distracted by the parking display going on behind the bank of terracing. the granadilla bar ran out of beer, a common theme at our friendlies, and a few resorted to wine, well they had also run out of meths. Difficult to read anything into this first run out at least the new coach will have got a few ideas of how to gell the squad into a winning unit.

Purring At The Peroni Calendar Catwalk

Vespa scooters lined the entrance to La Noria but unsurprisingly on a hot Tenerife night there was not a parka coat in sight, just stylish male and slinky female models. The La Noria district of Santa Cruz is a magnet for the well dressed, trendy, and sophisticated but they forgot to put the fashion police on standby and I sneaked in. It was time for the Peroni beer calendar shoot, I had only just calmed down from last years and this year there were plenty of bottles of the Italian beverage floating around to further encourage me.

Why would they dress Santa Cruz up as Italy? Well that connection comes through Dorada and their parent company Compania Cervecera Canarias who distribute Peroni in the Canary Islands. The end of La Noria just below the main road bridge has eight very popular restaurants with large seating areas outside, through the middle of these the walkway had been covered with a red carpet that acted as a sort of catwalk for the diners to salivate over after they had finished their food. This year the female models were joined by a few males to play out some romantic scenes, an extra bonus was a bevy of Peroni promotion girls in figure hugging black dresses.

The first shoot took place out of most guests sight, down a small alley, I managed to elbow my way among the photographers watching the official snapper Alfonso Bravo direct his couple into the perfect smoochey late night stroll home. Last year it was all shush as the official photos were taken but this time a small band strummed away on a nearby stage and the sound of happy chatter hung in the air. I shoe horned my way in among the media pack at the alley entrance and enjoyed the show, another couple cuddling in the shadows just behind the main stars added another layer of late night passion.

Taking to the red carpet the whole group headed to the far end of La Noria and enjoyed a few cold bottles while posing for some relaxed shots. There was nearly a PR incident as a van of promotional girls for a forthcoming southern music festival tried to crash the gig, after a short stand off they went on their way, I’m not sure if horses heads and beds were mentioned. That left the way clear for a large group shot of the models emerging from under the archway as a relaxed jolly gang out on the town laughing and swigging a few Peroni’s. There is a narrow cobbled street through La Noria and every now and then a stray cyclist would disturb the shooting by threading their way past the models but they took it all in their stride.

Luckily for me the models didn’t open most of the bottles preferring to use them for props in the shots and then leaving them on steps and shelfs, being public spirited I couldn’t just let them litter the place up so I drained them purely in the interests of quality control. Most of the diners had finished eating by now, as the night wears on La Noria becomes more of an up market late drinking venue, I have had a few good late ones there waiting for the sporadic nocturnal Titsa bus es to the south. It will be interesting to see how the calendars look when they emerge later in the year, not that they will be on sale, the 500 copies are for corporate contacts. The public shoot experiment had worked well and the models were very obliging in spreading themselves over the scooters and cars, I headed back down south with a big grin on my face. For more pics and a full report see Tenerife Magazine.

Splish Splash,El Medano On The Crest Of Two Waves

I don’t like straight lines, they bore me, I need extremes, the downs make the ups even higher, supporting CD Tenerife certainly fits in with that outlook. Work is very like that too, sometimes it goes quiet and the stories are thin on the ground but then along comes a busy spell, last week was a little belter. The PWA World Cup of windsurfing had been penciled in my diary for a while and I planned to pop down to El Medano on Tuesday to catch the pre tournament build up, then the day before the PKRA – Professional Kite Riders Association dropped me an invite for a Tuesday morning press conference at Hotel Las Arenas, also in El Medano. The Master Cup, due from 8 to 14 August, had just leapfroged my plans.

The Titsa bus was pushing it for the 11 am gathering but after speed walking along the sea front to the 4 star hotel I arrived hot and sweaty to find they were nowhere near ready. Waiting nearly an hour for the Granadilla mayor to show up I had time to admire the Reina promotion girls and their large bowls ….of bottled beer packed in ice. The meeting was on the sun terrace where sun loungers were rapidly filling up as the sun swung out of the shadows to start grilling them, a small side opening led down onto the Playa de Los Balos where a few were taking an early dip as the JCB’s flattened and expanded the beach. After nearly an hour the mayor sneaked in, took his seat at the top table and with the three other officials rattled through the basics, at least the beer finally got popped open. Before I left I had a sneaky look around the hotel, very nice despite its car park like outer appearance, the large shells set off the smart but empty lobby and the restaurant looked nice as I pressed my nose against the glass.

Heading back to the centre of town I stopped at Playa El Cabezo, home for the windsurfing, the council were still paving the area in front of the mobile bar and up behind large vans were emptying out stacks of windsurf boards in protective covers that looked like body bags. Some surf dudes were relaxing and several more were out on the sea getting some early practice in, the keen locals were out in force in the strong wind and further to the west kiteboarders were strutting their stuff, the overlap was a wild exhilerating sporting venn diagram. A few more photos and a face full of pancake at La Boheme and I was heading back to Los Cristianos, sadly at home a schoolboy error saw me wipe my photos as I went to download them. The surf shots could be replaced and bettered but oh no those nicely posed pics of the Reina girls were also lost.

Back on Thursday for the start of the PWA World Cup and the wind had got even stronger, perfect for the surfers, the paving was finished, the railed off part of the beach was packed with boards and riders in a pits style and in small groups they dragged their boards into the sea and did 12 minutes of gravity defying action each. one of the most impressive aspects was the chilled atmosphere, no security pushing people around and families and even their dogs took vantage points up on a sandy ridge that was doused with a cooling spray evey few waves. I wandered through the pit area to the control hut to scribble down some details and several riders obligingly posed for photos, no one seemed worried that I was picking my way between boards worth around 1,500 euros each.

The action was amazing, fast, daring and acrobatic, flipping those boards and sails to hang upside down in the air for a few seconds must take great stamina. Even as riders defied the laws of gravity there were still local surfers whizzing around, well you can’t seal off part of the Atlantic. I came away with increased admiration for these talented sportsmen and women, not just for their skills but also their modest, friendly and approachable manner. For more photos and in depth report go to In mid afternoon I got an invite from the media agency handling the Peroni calendar shoot in Santa Cruz the next day – an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Canary Islands Sport On Its Knees

It doesn’t make it any easier to take but it’s not just CD Tenerife that are drowning in a sea of debt, the financial crisis is putting the squeeze on sport on the seven islands and further afield in mainland Spain. Of course it doesn’t help if you have an incompetant President like Concepcion at CDT, I dread opening the papers each morning for fear of the latest self inlicted wound.

The last few weeks have been a real tirade of body blows to long suffering blanquiazul fans, we knew relegation to Segunda B would turn the screw on us but the club seem determined to make it as painful as possible. After a tearful farewell at the final home game Nino has signed for Osasuna in La Primera, one of several teams chasing him, but despite having three years on his contract no transfer fee has been mentioned. The 14 other players with time to run on their deals had to go to clear the sky high wage bill, some pay deals must have been made over a late night drinking session. Then the club sacked Arico born coach Amaral after just 10 games and with a years contract (80,000 euros) ahead of him, and it was revealed that the squad hadn’t been paid for the final few months of the season – oh shit.

Let me put this in some context, the LFP, players union announced that 300 players in the top two divisions of Spanish football had reported their clubs for outstanding wages. Further down the foundations were also rotting away, last week the league relegated 12 teams from Segunda B (Spains 3rd tier) to the Tercera due to outstanding debt, Palencia have since been reprieved but the other 11 have until noon on Monday 4 July to pay 400,000 to regain their Segunda B status. CD Tenerife could well be joining the big drop for their second relegation in a few months and third in two seasons, despite some deals being cut at least five players and coach Amaral want their full outstanding money now, some estimates put the immediate total at 4 million euros.

Looking at our neighbours, Fuerteventura went broke a couple of seasons ago, Lanzarote and Las Palmas B have turned down a chance to fill two of the Segunda B gaps as this late promotion comes with a 400,000 euros price tag. The senior Pios (Las Palmas) may have laughed at Tenerife’s drop but now they have lost their long term sponsor La Caja as the bank has been swallowed up by parent group Bankia, suddenly they are digging down the back of the sofa for money. The added problem with Canary Islands sports team is our location, playing in national Spanish leagues means expensive away games every two weeks.

Around 8 years ago the second biggest team in Tenerife was Tenerife Marichal, the ladies volleyball team, they dominated the Spanish league, always went to the finals of the Europen League, and played to regular crowds of 3,000 plus in Santa Cruz. Now unsponsored and just plain old CV Tenerife, they are about to fold due to lack of money and dwindling support. CV Tenerife Sur mens voleyball team in Los Cristianos have also suffered a similar fate. It’s gonna be a tough next few years, CD Tenerife will play to much smaller crowds in Segunda B or the Tercera next season, assuming we survive but the loyal hard core will stay, whether that will be enough for long term survival is another matter.