1. Bale surfing
The new shape of hay bales has created the little known country sport of ‘bale surfing’. Please note that this is a dangerous countryside activity that should not be undertaken without the proper training.
Square bales have all but disappeared from the countryside, giving way to much larger cylindrical bales that are stacked using machinery, rather than tossed into the hay loft with a pitchfork. The loss of machismo activity associated with this tossing has been replaced, in hillier regions of the UK with the new sport of bale surfing.
For this activity you will require a strong assistant, known locally as a ‘bale spring’.
Firstly, choose your field carefully for the ‘roll’. A good initial slope or hill will help get the bale moving. A field that then gives way to a gentler slope is a safety requirement. On no account practice this sport in fields at the edge of cliffs, roads or dangerous rivers. Ponds are at your own discretion.
With your assistant, push the bale to get it rolling and at the appropriate moment, mount the bale and start running on the spot, backwards, staying on top of the bale. Some contestants like to face backwards and run on the spot forwards but this is regarded as unsportsmanlike. Its also pretty stupid as you can’t see where you’re going. Your assistant should continue to apply force to the hay bale to gain the required momentum.
The successful surfer will abandon the bale (bale out) when the roll becomes too dangerous, leaping off the bale to one side or the other. Do not in any circumstances abandon the bale in the direction of the roll unless you want a large bale of hay to run over you (wipe-out). Do not jump onto your ‘bale spring’.
Racing rolls: In fields where there are two or more adjacent bales, surfers race each other. This may involve using the contours of the land to set up converging rolls (knock-out), or a straight race. The surfers will bale out at an agreed spot to avoid hedge injuries.
Night rolling: Make sure to recce the field in the daylight for obvious dangers like barbed wire or bulls, rams or llamas and if night surfing, make sure you have the right field.
Farmers: If you can gain the co-operation of a farmer to set up a surf meet this is an advantage. Farmers may well shoot you if they find you engaging in this sport illegally, which besides being dangerous to you is destructive to their property. But at least it doesn’t involve ripping foxes to shreds with dogs.
No responsibility for any injuries incurred by anyone undertaking this sport are accepted by this author.