The International descent of the River Sella is an annual canoeing event that takes place in Asturias around the first weekend in August. It’s one of the largest canoeing races of its kind, attracting more than a thousand participants from all over the globe. The race starts in the town of Arriondas which is nestled at the foot hills of the Picos del Europa mountain range and makes its way along a 20km stretch of the river Sella finishing at the seaside resort of Ribadesella. The race is the focal point of a four-day festival that offers concerts and plenty of activities that attract many visitors to the area, most of whom are just there to party and party they do! As at most big festivals in Asturias, the revelers tend to be easy going and out to have a good time.
Despite the sheer numbers of people in attendance, the festival is good for families and all age groups. The International descent of the River Sella started back in 1929 when Dionisio de la Huerta made the recreational trip down the river with a few friends. Since then, the race has grown in popularity and is now recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage tourism event. The organizers have worked hard to develop the event and have made many changes including opening the race to disabled participants. They are also making use of social media to keep people informed about timings, winners and advice. To the spectator, the race has a wacky feel about it. 1000 plus kayakers running to their boats in the hope to get a good starting push-off amidst a cacophony of paddles smacking off each other and the roar of the crowd. Many take part to win but quite a few just do it for fun. No matter what place they come in, the general consensus is always the same: “That was one crazy race!” If you are a keen kayaker then you have to do this race at least once in your life… you won’t regret it.
Here’s the video link: http://vimeo.com/47130543
Video courtesy of Where is Asturias.com