Basque people are crazy about all kinds of sports. They like to actively participate, watch, bet and just enjoy them whenever possible. Sport is deeply connected with the Basque culture. The main sport in the Basque Country, as in the rest of Spain and much of France, is football. The top teams Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Osasuna play in the first Spanish national league. A curiosity about Athletic Bilbao is their policy of only hiring Basque players.
Pelota is either played by hand and then called "pelota a mano" or with baskets and then called "jai alai". Almost every tiny village has its own "frontón" (court where Pelota is played) and you will see kids of all ages playing this deeply in the Basque history rooted game.
In recent years surfing has taken off on the Basque shores, and Mundaka and Biarritz have become spots on the world surf circuit. Not only during the summer months but all year round you will spot surfers in the water waiting to catch the next good wave.
Cycling is the second most popular sport in the Basque Country. When being in the Basque Country you will see many people climbing up the steep hills and riding along the coast with their bikes. Miguel Indurain was born in Atarrabia (Navarra), and he won 5 times the Tour de France.
In the French part of the Basque Country, rugby is another popular sport within the Basque community. In Biarritz, the local club is Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, the name referencing the club's Basque heritage.
Basque rural sports, known as Herri Kirolak in Basque, is the term used for a number of sports competitions rooted in the traditional lifestyles of the Basque people.
There are various types of rural sports such as wood chopping, dragging, stone lifting, hole drilling, scything, sawing and many more.
Winners receive a Basque beret (txapela) as a trophy, hence the Basque word for champion, "txapeldun", literally "one who has a beret".