Monday, February 15, 2010


Zorbing (which also goes by globe-riding, sphereing, or orbing) is the stomach stirring experience of rolling downhill in an ‘orb’ made of transparent plastic. Zorbs come in two designs: harnessed or non-harnessed. Constructions with harnesses can carry up to three riders, while harnessed designs carry only one or two.

Outdoor Gravity Orb (OGO)

The zorb’s construction is both simple and ingenious. The ball is double-sectioned, with a small sphere inside a larger one with a layer of trapped air between. The difference between the two diameters results in a 20”-24” cushion of air. With the zorb being made of flexible plastic, this buffer helps to cushion the rider from any irregularities in the slope surface. Sometimes, operators place water inside the spheres to reduce friction allowing the ball to roll underneath its riders without tossing them around as violently.

The idea behind the orb’s design is based off of the small rodent balls that have been in production since the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that humans would adopt the principle for themselves in a big way. The Dangerous Sports Club constructed a giant sphere 23 meters (75.5 feet) in diameter with a gimbals arrangement supporting two deck chairs inside. No pictures of the machine have been found as it was shortly disassembled thereafter for scrap.

In 1994, Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers created the first zorb in Auckland, New Zealand. After acquiring two investors, they were quick to capitalize on the idea creating the now famous firm ZORB Limited. After years of networking, similar companies such as Downhill Revolution have been created as well as a couple of spin-off inventions like the Outdoor Gravity Orb (OGO) and the Fishpipe.


Fishpipe- The world’s first rotating barrel ride. Up to three riders enter the barrel where operators then add 20 gallons (75 liters) or water and spin the contraption up to 45 revolutions per minute. Occupants can attempt to surf the ride while standing up though it’s difficult to get the hang of.

Did you know?- Although zorbs generally descend gentle slopes, I want to break the land-speed record for a zorb! The world record for fastest zorb ride is held by Keith Kolver at a speed of 32.3 mph (52 Km/h).

The reporter below thought it would be funny to be struck by an empty zorb rolling down a hill. She was wrong…

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