The Unique New Zealand Activity of Zorbing

Everyone who has seen the movie “Bubble Boy” probably wondered what it would be like to be in a large, plastic bubble. Zorbing might be the perfect thing to try if you were one of those people. The unique, somewhat odd recreational activity of zorbing was invented by Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers of New Zealand. Zorbing involves strapping oneself into an inflatable, transparent ball. Then, you roll down hills going about twenty-five miles an hour. It’s safe of course, as the sphere, which is called a “zorb,” protects you from the dangers of the outside world.

Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis kind of designed the activity on accident however, as they wanted to create a kind of ball that would float on water. They had seen a commercial on television which had showed some people in a large, clear ball floating no water. However, when people left or entered the sphere, it would become deflated and would have to be inflated again. That was when they created the idea of a ball with two skins. Although it worked on water like they wanted, it was very tiring for those who got to try it. The ball was also prone to blowing further off into the sea. They then just decided to use the sphere to roll down hills, which worked wonderfully. Zorbing was finally invented, though there are conflicting dates for when it was invented. The general consensus is that zorbing was created in the 1990s.

Although many find this activity to be a little odd, it may appeal to some that are interested in doing something a little adventurous but are worry that they might get injured. It’s an extreme sport without the competition or risk of injury. Others might be interested in zorbing just because they are curious to see what it’s like to be in a large sphere similar to that seen in the film “Bubble Boy.”

In New Zealand, the sport has been popular enough to warrant a slightly different version which involves water. Instead of strapping oneself into the zorb, filling it with water has become a secondary and more risky option known as “hydro zorbing.” The strapless version of zorbing without water is also done, which is said to be quite rewarding if you end up on still on your feet after the roll.

If you’re interested in purchasing a zorb, I regret to inform you that, due mainly to insurance and legal issues, zorbs are not available to the public for sale. Even if they were, they would cost a pretty penny as all zorbs are hand-made with great care. A more realistic venture would be to try the sport through a rental run, which would cost about thirty US dollars.

Although the activity has become fairly popular in New Zealand and parts of the United Kingdom, most Americans have only been exposed to it through its appearances in television shows like “The Amazing Race” and “Globe Trekker” and movies like “Operation Condor.”

Fortunately, the original zorbing company named Zorb Rotorua has plans of creating zorbing locations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Perhaps the site with the most customers will be the one in Boulder, Nevada, which is just outside of Las Vegas. With a lack of exposure and a lack of zorbing sites in the United States, it is quite tough to get an audience. However, when zorbing finally comes to North America, people can then see why this unique activity is loved by many others all over the world.

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