Do you like to play kickball on the playground? What about soccer? Have you ever watched as a ball rolled to the edge of a hill and then tumbled down? What do you think it would be like to be inside that ball as it rolls and bounces downhill?
Believe it or not, you can now find out exactly what it feels like. Thanks to the invention of zorbing — also called globe-riding, sphereing or orbing — adventurous people can now have fun rolling downhill inside a huge sphere made of see-through plastic.
These huge orbs come in two types: harnessed and non-harnessed. Harnessed orbs are designed for one or two persons and have harnesses — like seatbelts — that hold riders in place.
Non-harnessed orbs can carry up to three riders. Without harnesses to contain them, the riders in these orbs can bounce around much more than in a harnessed orb.
Zorbing was invented in New Zealand in 1994 by Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis. It has become popular in many countries around the world, including England, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Zorbing sites usually feature gentle slopes, but zorbing can also be done on flat surfaces to allow riders more control and a smoother ride. Some zorbing areas have runs up to a half-mile long!
If you’re thinking that it might hurt to roll downhill in a plastic sphere, don’t worry! These spheres are designed to minimize the impact of bumps while riding. Unlike a hard plastic hamster ball, zorbs are built as a ball inside of another ball with a layer of air between them.
This layer of air between the two flexible plastic balls acts as a shock absorber. Since the orbs are lightweight, the risk of injury is reduced. To add even more fun, you can add water for an aqua ride, which is also sometimes called hydro zorbing!
Zorbing can be done at many different locations where companies have set up special courses. Riders can usually pay for each individual ride or a set amount for a whole day of riding.
The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes two sphereing records. Steve Camp set the record for longest sphereing ride in 2006 at 1,870 feet. Keith Kolver set the world record for fastest sphereing ride in 2006 at 32 miles per hour!