We must clarify that the festival of The Planks of San Andrés is not related to the religious regard of the name, but curiously is named this way because it is celebrated the 29th and 30th of November, which is the day of San Andrés. As it is a popular custom that was spread word of mouth, the day of San Andrés was taken as reference, and until today it is known by that name.
In fact, the story goes that this feast day was originated by an anecdotic fact. As many know, Tenerife is an island characterized by their slopes and in some areas the inclines are more slanted, and Icod de los Vinos is not a exception. As well this locality was widely known among the Islands for its winemaking tradition; winemakers at that time used to wash the wine barrels in the sea because they said salad sea water stimulated the elimination of acids inside.
Back then there was no transportation to enable taking the casks downhill towards the sea, so they took them down as they could, either rolling them or over planks which were slipped until reaching the lowest area near the sea. The usage of planks was also because thus the barrels were protected from possible injuries along the way.
This simple fact of going downhill with the barrel over planks attracted the attention of the youth, turning it in something else than work but in a game that gradually became the feast day nowadays known as the festival of The Planks of San Andrés. Presently, barrels are no longer used because over the years other more modern means emerged, but people kept on placing planks for sliding in the most vertiginous and amusing slopes in the area.
Currently this festival is so popular that receives lots of curious visitors that just want to watch or want to participate just as the locals. The municipality has destined specific spots to descend in order of avoiding disorder and accidents. The necessary precautions are taken and the participants are recommended some safety measures for their protection.
This folk festival highlights the attractiveness of the area and is a good excuse to take a late November vacation. There are several streets where you can descend but some are more crowded because the route is larger and the slope is more slanted.
The only thing you need is a wood board, in the base there must be wax or bait so it can slide, the board must have at least a support for feet. With the constant usage it will slide better and will take more speed
Over the years in this festival of The Planks of San Andrés, the participants have become witty and clever making their boards, these usually are individual but there are some young people that prefer to descend in group in a single board, so their boards are bigger.