Basque rural sports is the term used for a number of sports competitions rooted in the traditional lifestyles of the Basque people. The term "force basque" is used in French.

Agriculture and construction have always been highly developed. This type of work requires great physical strength. You should know that a "Basque man" is a proud man who likes to challenge himself... The young Basques have launched challenges from one farm to another.These competitons were inspired by their daily work.

Literally "axe test", this rural sport more commonly known as aizkolaritza, from the Basque word for a wood-cutter. This is a very popular sport today but its origins are to be found in the rural wood cutting communities of earlier periods. In this competition, the wood cutter has to chop through a number of tree trunks arranged on the ground in rows as quickly as possible whilst standing on the log to beat his competitors.

Lasto altxatzea, literally hay bale lifting, is a sport that involves raising a hay-bale with the aid of a pulley. The competition is usually about lifting the bale as often as possible within a given period of time, most commonly 2 minutes. The bale weighs 45 kg in the men's competitions and 30 kg in the women's competition.

Tug-of-war is also traditional in the Basque Country. Usually two teams of eight compete, trying to drag the other team over a line by pulling on the rope. To be most effective, it is necessary that the members of a team are strong but also coordinated.

Today, the Basque force is a story of "rivalry" between villages. You can discover Basque force in Saint-Jean-de-Luz in the "fronton" during the summer.
Tickets available from the Tourist Office of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, 20 Boulevard Victor Hugo.

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