Sign Up for a Tenerife Tall Ships Adventure

Scampering up one of the 200 foot masts of the sailing brig Stavros S Niarchos, second officer Ben Wheatley made it look easy. Having climbed the rope ladder, and worked along one of the slats holding the sails, Ben was just below the 12 metre high Up And Over platform, one of the initial challenges to crew members signing on for a Tall Ships Adventure to build character and team work.

Santa Cruz and Portsmouth, the home ports of Stavros, are forever linked in history by a certain Horatio Nelson but these days there’s no need for press gangs. Up to 48 raw crew members of all ages pay to join the ship for week long voyages from its three month base in Tenerife. There are also 10 volunteer crew in key positions and six permanent paid crew who have worked their way up to Captains and Skippers.

I caught Stavros between a Sea Shanty and a Wildlife Watch week as Ben explained. “We had two professional musicians on board to teach traditional sea shanty’s, when we came back into Santa Cruz from our tour around the Canary Islands we entertained a bar full of people. On the wildlife trip we have an expert to educate the crew about the animals we see.”

It’s not all music and mammals, Happy Hour is a jolly name for scrubbing the decks to music. There are also long watches to keep the ship manned around the clock, maintenance, steering, and hauling the sails. “Climbing the masts to set the sails is a small part of the job, they are controlled by hauling on ropes that are coiled on deck. We have a motor but like to use wind power for as much of the voyages as possible. On a good week the sails are our sole source of power for two thirds of the trip.”

Topside the ship looks and creaks like a well worn eighteenth century rig but down in the modern hull the maker’s plate gives the true version, built in Appledore, Devon in 2000. The mess has a modern stainless steel kitchen, not a ship’s biscuit in sight, but the table area is cramped and the six cabins, each with eight bunks are best described as cosy. Sailors” possessions are limited to a locker and a small box. Ages on the voyages range from 18 to 75 and each work team (watch) is a mixed bag of ages and both sexes. No sailing experience is required for the adventures, it’s a big learning curve that includes map reading, course plotting, and lots of team work.

Ben has been riding the waves since dipping his toe as a raw crew member but seven years on he is dedicated and very happy with a routine of five weeks on and two weeks off. “We tell our new recruits you will learn a little about sailing but a lot about yourselves.”

If anyone fancies a nautical challenge there’s more information at


Interview with Damien Vergez of

At the still-hot-and-sticky end of a long summer, Damien Vergez of came out to Tenerife with a team of mountain bikers and all his camera and video equipment to film some of his favourite riders getting to grips with the unique landscape. Thanks to Matt at Sorted Sites, a mountain biking enthusiast who was on hand to help the film crew with their work, Tenerife Magazine caught up with Damien to find out what had brought him to Tenerife.

Many thanks to Manuel Faster Rodriguez and to Damien Vergez for these amazing images πŸ™‚

TM: Watching your incredible video of freeride mountain biking on Tenerife, I can see that you and the riders all had a brilliant time trying out the island’s tracks and trails. What is ‘freeriding’ and who are the top riders currently in the sport?

Damien: First, Freeride mountain biking is a state of mind, it’s type of mountain bike riding style. Freeride usually involves large drops, jumps, and manmade stunts. The trails are often accessed by shuttle or ski lift but can be pedaled as well. Freeride bikes usually have large amounts of suspension travel (180mm and more) and you can ride everywhere.
You have a lots of very good top riders in this sport and it’s difficult for me to give you names”Β¦ but riders like Darren Berrecloth, Thomas Vanderham or Matt Hunter are some of my favourites

TM: Can you tell us how this project came about, where else you have filmed in the series and how you came to be in Tenerife?

Damien: It’s been almost one year since I began work on this project. I came up with this crazy idea to travel to different countries and film some amateur riders with their favorite professional rider in some of the most beautiful trails on the planet. Who hasn’t dreamt of spending time with their favorite rider/player? Regardless of our nationality, it’s something we all think about.

There is less and less snow in Europe and this sport is taking a large market share in the ski resorts. Tenerife is an ideal place for mountain biking. Weather is always good, you have big mountains, lots of awesome landscapes. Mountain biking is an incredible way to see the island of Tenerife! The island has huge potential to become a must in Europe!

TM: How much work do you have to prepare the ground for filming?

Damien: It depends on the country and the place I am filming in. Normally I don’t need to prepare and work the trails I film because most of the time I film in ski resorts or places known worldwide like Whistler in Canada. Here in Tenerife you don’t have special “freeride” trails, only pedestrian ones.

TM: How did the bikes cope with Tenerife’s volcanic terrain?

Damien: The Tenerife ground is very difficult for bikes and especially for tires. You need to be careful because if you go too fast you can fall directly inside a cactus”Β¦ hahah πŸ˜€

TM: Can you tell us where on Tenerife you did the filming and how long it took you?

Damien: More than 70% of the island is covered by national parks. Each national park has its own restrictions. Some, like Teide National Park, we were forbidden to use for our purposes. It was difficult to find the right places with so many restrictions. Most of our images where taken in “Parque Rural de Anaga” and “Bike Park Tenerife” (a private park in Tegueste). The filming was done over one full week.

TM: Which area of Tenerife did your riders like most and why?

Damien: Parque Rural de Anaga is really nice for mountain biking because at the same place you can find volcanic and forest trails. We also toured the island by car, and I must admit that we liked almost all places on the island. La Punta de Teno, El Teide, Vilaflor, Los Gigantes, Playa de Socorro… After mountain biking you have so many good places to visit!

TM: Would you recommend Tenerife as a good venue for freeriding and for mountain biking in general?

Damien: For sure I will! And it’s already done! I also recommend Tenerife for your holidays. Sun all the year, beach, mountains, forest”Β¦ and it’s cheap! You can find pretty much all you want in the same place. It’s heaven, no?

TM: What’s your next project?

Damien: I have lots of great projects but I can’t say too much at this time. But I’m always looking for partners and customers, so if you need films or photos for action sports, feel free to contact me at

TM: Thanks for chatting to, Damien, and good luck with continuing to spread the word about freeriding! πŸ™‚

Damien: Thanks to for this interview. I hope to come back soon in Tenerife, it’s a wonderful place!

Faster Croquetas – EP5 from FASTFOKUS on Vimeo.


Great Britain Swimmers Polish Their Olympic Medal Hopes in Tenerife

Delhi, Shanghai, and”Β¦Costa Adeje, all stepping stones on the way to Olympic glory at London 2012 for the Great Britain swimming team. Come July some 20,000 fans will pack the London Aquatics Centre at Stratford hoping to witness a medal haul but for now nine hopefuls are sharpening up at Tenerife Top Training high above La Caleta.

At 20 years old Jak Scott has already tasted glory after early family sacrifices. ” I grew up in Hawick which was a rugby town so when I took up swimming and started to get good I had to make a 90 minute journey to Edinburgh. At 15 my family moved there, an amazing show of faith in me, later I joined Stirling University, they have a reputation for sporting excellence. In the 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi I won a silver as part of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay (Jak also competes at 100 m and 200 m individual freestyle) that was a great boost.”

Coach Rob Greenwood explained that “Stirling is one of five ITC’s (Intensive Training Centre) we’ve brought nine swimmers to Tenerife for two weeks, all with Olympic medal hopes. In March we have to select the British Swimming squad of about 50, they have to make set times and be the top two at each distance so it will be tough.”

Jak can’t wait. “The selection trials are the first test event at the Olympic pool, we had a tour just after it was finished, it’s an awesome building. This years World Championships were in Shanghai and there were a few thousand watching but that’s nothing compared to the 2012 games. That was my first GB cap and we came 6th, it was the first time my parents weren’t watching me but they will be in London, each athlete gets two tickets.”

Plunging into the T3 pool Scott pushes himself in the second of two daily sessions with his team mates, they are clocking up 30 hours a week plus some weights and medicine ball work. The training is relentless in the medal chase.” We came to T3 last year, it’s got to be the best facility in Europe for us. This time it’s all about building aerobic power, speed and pace. In January we did three weeks work in Singapore, two weeks after this it’s Poland for a short course event. I’m lucky that Stirling University are very supportive, they have given me a year off from my accountancy studies and British Gas support the development programme.”

Watching the swimmers powering through the water it’s clear to see their determination but will performing in front of an expectant home crowd make it tougher? ” There is pressure,” admits Jak. “But it’s such a privilege to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. We will stay part of the duration of the swimming in the Olympic village but also take a short break at an Edinburgh holding camp to get out of the spotlight. ”



Tennis on Tenerife in August

And the heat goes on, but so does tennis on the island.

The Circuito del Sur has now reached the Masters phase, and anyone interested in watching, the event now moves onto the tennis courts of the Abama Hotel from the 26th until 29th August. After the tournaments in Los Gigantes, Chayofa, Los Cristianos and Hotel Conquistador, the top 8 in each category are invited to play in the Masters. Matches start at about 10.00am every day.

Also during the summer “street tennis” has been played on the sea front in Los Cristianos, and below is a photo of some of the participants, along with the organiser David Paniaqua from Chayofa Tennis Club.

Meanwhile in Los Gigantes, the Sunday “You can not be serious” Doubles Tennis Tournament, a social round robin event where players play short four game sets before changing partners, was contested by 14 brave tennis players.

The diversity of nationalities was narrower than has been usual in recent weeks yet Norway, England, Germany and America provided players in addition to a small core of Tenerife residents. In the past we have had players from Belgium, France, Russia, Spain, Ireland, Holland etc.

Many exciting matches took place giving the contenders and those watching interesting rallies and some incredible if not impossible shots, all mixed with banter and good humour.

Until the start time it is not known exactly how many people will turn out, what levels they play at or indeed what the mix of man, boy, woman or girl will be, however, recent weeks have seen consistently between 12 and 16 players and this last week we had 9 male and 5 female entrants including two teenagers and the eldest contender being 65.

The referee and organiser slaves over his playlist during the course of the match to try to come up with interesting combinations comprising men’s doubles, ladies doubles and mixed. In addition these can break down into mixes of all weaker players, all stronger players or weaker supported by stronger. The whole tournament is effectively orchestrated to try and give everyone a fair chance to win some points.

Although good players will generally still score consistently it does not stop a less gifted player coming up through the pack to share the honours simply by playing consistently in support of their partners. This week was a case in point with ultimately the winner’s podium being shared by one good experienced player and one relative but consistent scoring beginner.

Greg and Kevin shared the honour of being winner and were duly given their certificates, plus a bottle of wine, each having scored 16 points. Roger, one of our regular resident players, scored 15 and received a runner’s up certificate.

There is also a Mid Week Doubles Challenge where a fixed partnership plays all the other doubles teams over a fixed time periods. Once all combinations have been exhausted the winning team is announced. A different format but the same “You can not be serious” ethos, it is all about meeting new players and enjoying the fun of the event.

If you live or are on holiday here in the south of the island, the tournament on Sunday starts at 10.00am and you just have to turn up 10 minutes before to play. The mid week event needs you to sign up beforehand.

Have fun on the courts!


Kiteboarding, Sporting Fun With Strings Attached

Catching the wind is difficult and riding the surf isn’t exactly easy, put them together and it’s enough to test body and mind to the limit. El Medano has long been a hot bed of this growing extreme sport but when the PKRA Master Cup and Spanish Championship arrived nature added patience to the riders” virtues. The wind had a lay in and didn’t blow in until 2 pm, so much for a 10am start.

Even given the becalmed conditions I was surprised to see riders carrying large hand pumps down to Playa de Los Balos along with chunky surf boards and bundles of sails. All became clear as the kites took shape, the air filling the frames to keep them as light weight as possible.

The originally promised field of 150 riders and the mornings recount of 50 turned out to be 20 but if quantity was absent quality was in good supply. Youri Zoon (above) of Holland was fresh from winning the fourth World Championship round in Fuerteventura putting him ahead of the pack. He gave me some pointers to the competition ahead. ” We go out for seven minutes in pairs and the judges are looking for power and execution. They award one, two or no points per rider, the whole event is on a round robin knock out system. Look out for the two types of freestyle (there is also a race format) old school is jumps and spins but new school go for tricks passing the handle behind their back.”

Although exhilarating to watch, the rewards for professionals like Youri are pretty scant, the men’s winners share 12,400 euros and the women 3,600. “We have to get good sponsors to pay our travel and hotel bills, 5,000 euros isn’t much for destroying your body.” Youri smiles as he refers to injuries, he has twice broken cross ligaments.

As the riders practiced, the announcer tried to direct the public away from the busiest air space but several groups of beach strollers were buzzed by kites caught on sudden breezes. Despite their inflated edges, a sudden dive was enough to put the wind up a few daydreaming holiday makers. Even the sun bathers were enticed to sit up and admire the flips and charges of the riders as they skimmed over the waves. Dressing for action was an experience in itself. First the harness around the waist and then a tight hold of the reigns while guiding feet into the boards foot holds and finding an extra pair of eyes to make sure the kite wasn’t mingling with another rider’s strings.

The sea was pretty crowded on the first afternoon but stray surfers and swimmers were merely another challenge to these skilled riders. Back on the beach the bar was doing a steady trade and sun cream was slapped on liberally and the Reina beer girls added another layer of glamour to the swim suits and torsos. Even those distractions found it hard to compete with the how fast, how high, how dynamic antics of the riders. The action continues until Saturday 13 August, good luck and may the wind lift you to new glories.


Keeping your Tenerife Tennis Cool, Tip Number 3

In my last article I talked about the dangers of sun exposure whilst playing tennis in Tenerife’s climate. This week, I want to talk about avoiding dehydration.

Body fluids account for 70 percent of the average human body, and you use these liquids as the main source for getting rid of extra heat. When the outside temperature raises your body’s core temperature, your body reacts by trying to lose heat through perspiration and other means. Intense exercise and especially hot conditions, however, can put your body’s thermostat at risk of overheating and leave you dehydrated.

Dehydration increases the risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that can take several minutes to pass. Heat exhaustion can lead to dizziness, paleness, nausea, vomiting, and fainting. A heat stroke is the most severe case of heat-related illnesses. People who are suffering from a heat stroke usually have very high temperatures and may be delirious, unconscious, or, in worst case scenarios, having seizures.

Tennis courts can range anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the actual, off-court temperature. Humidity, clarity, court reflection, and court colour are all factors in the on-court temperature, but the playing surface generally radiates more heat.

When and How Much to Drink
During your match, the water fountain could become your best friend. Here are some tips on how to ensure you stay hydrated:

  • Drink water throughout the day and drink one pint before your match or practice.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine in excess, because they will dehydrate your body.
  • Drink water at each change over. Think of water like petrol, do not wait until you have run out!
  • Have a small damp hand cloth in your bag (inside a plastic bag) and use it every so often to wipe your hands/face.

Staying well-hydrated will ensure that your body can work efficiently and get rid of extra heat. Dehydration makes it extremely difficult for your body to cool down, so make sure you are constantly flushing fluids into your system. Clothing has a huge impact on your body temperature, as well. American Football players are notoriously prone to heat strokes, because they wear uniforms and heavy padding that covers their entire body.

When playing tennis, wear light clothing and keep an extra shirt in your bag in case it is very hot or humid. Wet clothing sticks to your skin and prevents your pores from expelling heat, so change your shirt if necessary. I always try to wear a dri fit tennis shirt, which keeps you cool and does not retain the perspiration.

Cool Down
While it’s extremely vital to understand the importance of sun prevention and proper hydration, don’t let these aspects of the game scare you away from playing. Many players disregard their health and believe they are invincible “” and they are at serious risk for doing so. If you have any questions or concerns, always seek advice from a doctor. Education, awareness, and healthy routines will help you enjoy a tennis match while staying healthy.

Have fun!


Tennis on Tenerife, News and Tips

Local Tennis News

The 2nd Circuito De Verano Tenerife Sur, is a circuit for tennis players taking place in the south of Tenerife.
Players are expected from all over the island, but the idea is to give those players in the south a chance to play during the summer without travelling to the north of the island.
There are 4 tournaments covering age groups from Under 10 up to adults.
The tournaments are:
22-30 July “β€œ Los Gigantes (Pancracio Sports Centre)
30 July-06 August “β€œ Club de Tenis Chayofa.
13-20th August “β€œ Hotel H10 Conquistador
Then the Masters Event at the Abama Hotel on the 26-27-28th August for the overall top players in each category.
Entries close for the 1st event in Los Gigantes on the 21st July.
More information

Tennis On TenerifeTip Number 2

Whilst here on Tenerife, playing tennis under the mid-day sun is a great way to break a sweat and enjoy a beautiful day. However, athletes face some major risks when exercising outdoors. Tennis players are constantly fighting off the effects of sun exposure and dehydration. If you are not used to warm conditions, the heat can suck the energy from your body and the passion from your game.
Proper preparation is essential before facing grueling on-court conditions. With a few simple and critical changes to your pre- and post-game routine, you can ensure that you will walk off the court in great health.

Sun Exposure
Tennis is a year-round sport that is commonly played outdoors. For that reason, sun exposure is a major concern for players and coaches. Skin cancer affects one in five Americans and can be a potentially life-threatening condition. This makes it even more important for athletes who train under the sun to properly educate and prepare themselves before competing outside. Outdoor athletes are under even greater attack, because perspiration intensifies the sun’s rays. When you sweat, very little light exposure is needed to turn the skin pink, meaning you are more susceptible to burns.

The British Academy of Dermatology recommends seeking shade from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, this is the time that most tennis players practice and play. On Tenerife at certain times of the year, it can still be very sunny at 6pm in the evening.

So, the first and most obvious step is to wear sunscreen. Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, and do so 20 to 30 minutes before you step on the court. I personally use factor 50 and use it every hour during my coaching day. Sunscreen needs to be absorbed by the skin before it can be effective, so don’t wait until you’re rallying to put it on. Apply the sunscreen liberally to any area of your body that will be exposed to the sun “” including your scalp (you can also use a spray for your hair and and scalp if you do not use a cap).

Most people apply only 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen, so make sure you use it generously and reapply the sunscreen after you’ve been on the court for 30 minutes. If you’re worried that the sunscreen may affect your grip on the racquet, keep a towel in your bag so you can clean your hands.

Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your body from the sun, however. Wearing a hat, bandana or visor is a great way to shade your face and block ultraviolet rays. Always keep a hat in your tennis bag. Now that you’re properly protected, try building up your tolerance to the heat by arriving to your match or practice early. Even staying in the shade allows your body to acclimate to the environment, and will make you more efficient at reducing the effects of the heat.

Next week I’ll take a look at combating the dangers of dehydration on court.


Tennis on Tenerife

Rafa Nadal’s Uncle Tony, was recently on the Island, giving a tennis clinic at the C.T.Nautico Club in Santa Cruz, and the news for the Island is that he “was very impressed with the standard of the juniors here” so great for the future of Tenerife.
Above is a photo of Toni Nadal and the youngsters.

And a great tennis event coming up at the Club de Tenis in Puerto de la Cruz, starting the 10th to the 16th July.

It’s a mixed doubles event for married couples, which the club are advertising as “What God has joined together, let no tennis match separate” (also padel)

For details contact the club on 922 383784. If you have problems with the Spanish, ask for Marcos.

Tennis Tip Number 1
As promised I will be giving you all out there in tennistenerifeland, a free tip.
Now the tip will not be a technical one, as you have to pay your local coach for those, but these tips will be to try and help you in your general preparation for tennis, and so to the first tip.

When you go out on the court, what is the first thing you should do before you start your game (and let us presume you are playing doubles)?

Well the first thing of course should be to toss or spin the racket to decide on who serves or who receives, or the end of the court.
The number of club players I see go out, start the usual warm up, and then spin to decide who serves first. WRONG.

Decide before you warm up, then you are practicing the correct end of the court.

And also remember if you elect to serve, the other team elect the end to play. If you elect the end, the other team have the choice to serve or to receive. If you elect to receive, the other team can chose the end to serve from.
So be as the four clever guys below, who are doing the right thing!

Anyone out there who would like a tennis question answered please add a comment after the article.

Have fun!


Tennis On Tenerife

I”M John Debnam and I’ve been the tennis coach at the Los Gigantes Tennis Centre since 1986.
Tenerife has one of the best, year round climates in Europe for tennis players coming here on holiday and for those who live here.

For a small island the tennis here is pretty good and although we are in Spain, the variety of nationalities playing here is amazing. For example, our club in Los Gigantes is comprised of players from Spain, England, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Italy, Uruguay and Argentina.

No matter where you live on the island, there will be a club and a coach near you and over the coming weeks I”M going to be reporting on:

  • upcoming tournaments
  • tips to help improve your game
  • where to find your nearest Tenerife tennis club

But to finish today I thought this may be of interest to any of you from the Costa Del Silencio area.
Last weekend was the Palacio De Isora AlcalΓ‘ tennis competition and the losing finalist in the over 50/55 competition was Michel Cleemput who runs the Happy Days Tennis and Bowls Club.

I spoke to Michel after the presentation and he told me that after being on Tenerife for some time now, this was his first singles tennis trophy, at the age of 61.
Well done Michel, and I think you give us all a bit of hope, whatever our ages.

Have fun!


Howzat! Willow on Leather And Cricket On A Tenerife Afternoon

Closing my eyes I could have been at Lords, the gentle chime of a church bell, good natured clapping, and the whack of bat on ball. But with eyes wide open it was a very different scene, a small football ground with artificial turf high up in FaΓ±abe village with hazy clouds pressing down on the cracked and rugged volcanic mountains. There was no mistaking the enthusiasm for the game though, Tenerife Cricket Club were starting pre season trials and a Twenty20 game was in full swing.

This short sharp version of the sport has become massively popular in barely 10 years and the Indian community of Tenerife has embraced it as well suited to weekly Sunday afternoon gatherings. Cricket has much longer and all reaching roots in the Canary Islands as club president Suresh explained. “We used to play at Las Teresitas near Santa Cruz in the 1970’s but the current club was formed 5 years ago down south and we have used football grounds in Adeje, ArmeΓ±ime and FaΓ±abe. We play regular games with Las Palmas from Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, their club in Arrecife has 7 teams of different nationalities.”

In past seasons the Tenerife club has run a mini league with teams sporting names typical of the new PR savvy form of the sport. Scorpio Warriors and Pagoda Kings are names that would fit well in the upbeat glossy Indian Premier League that mixes show business with big money star players. It’s not quite that glamorous here in Tenerife, racing pigeons nestled in coops on village roofs as we waited for a key holder to let us into the football ground. Players warmed up with bat and ball in the car park, a stray shot trickled away down the hill road prompting a quick recovery dash.
Once the wickets were set up, the artificial grass is perfect for marking creases with tape, the players loosened up and formed 2 teams. The bowlers were charging in at full pelt but the batsmen were picking off some decent lusty strokes to keep the scores ticking over. It’s not so easy in these crunch times for players to get away from their work and business’s but their love of the sport was clear and despite the unforgiving nature of the plastic grass diving stops kept a lid on the batsmen trying to break away.

The club are always looking for extra players and keen to get over 15 sessions going on Sunday mornings. Suresh also wants to extend the playing time “Twenty20 is good but longer matches along test lines would give players more experience of fielding and bowling.” For now though the humid sun burning through the sporadic cloud adds an extra edge to the action and the sound of Ave Maria blaring out from the post fiesta plaza adds a surreal feel to proceedings.
All players are welcome to turn their arm or play a few strokes, contact Manga on 667899045 and dig out that bat from your sports bag.