The object of Jai-Alai is to hurl the ball (Pelota) against the front wall with such force, spin, and placement that an opponent will not be able to return it. The ball may touch the side wall, the back wall and/or the floor and remain in play until it strikes the floor a second time. A player may take the ball off the front wall in the air, or he may elect to play it off the back wall after one bounce. Any throw which strikes the front wall and the floor is fair. A foul is called when the throw strikes the red cushion, the overhead screen, or the red areas (unless it first hit the front wall and then the floor) and if it has touched a player or his clothing. Holding or juggling is a foul, which awards the point to an opponent. When the game begins, post one serves to post two. The serve must strike the front wall first and land between arrows 4 and 7 (unless intercepted.) The other arrows on the side wall are to aid players in judging distance and angles of shots.
The ball used in Jai Alai is called a Pelota. It takes a full year to manufacture one ball.
Cesta--The wicker basket used to catch and throw the ball. The frame is made of steam-bent chestnut. The reed is woven over the frame and ribs. Cestas are hand-made and cost in excess of $200.00 The hand is strapped into the glove, and the length, curve, and ribbing allows the ball more speed and spin than in any other sport. Cestas are repaired daily as the force of the ball breaks the reed weaves. Cestas are tailor-made to players' specifications. No two cestas are exactly alike.
Pelota--The ball is made with hand-wrapped strips of virgin rubber, hardened in stages, a few strands per day. It takes a year to produce a pelota, because of the hardening process. Two covers of goat skin are applied, and after a 100 day "resting" period, the pelota is ready. The outer cover of the pelota must be replaced after one or two games. The pelota is thrown at speeds in excess of 150 m.p.h.. Pelotas cost about $100.00 each.
Admission is always free, Doors open daily at 12 PM.