Zorbing – A different kind of sport

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Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Have you ever considered zorbing? Those who have played call it, a “wild experience.”

To play you need a zorb or orb, as some people refer to it. Essentially, it is a transparent plastic ball that you literally crawl inside and then roll down a hill in. Zorbing was invented in New Zealand back in 1994, but is catching on around the world, including here in Canada.

Zorbing works best on gentle slopes and can also be done on flat surfaces, which can allow riders to have more control. There are some zorbing areas that have runs up to a half a mile long. Now if you have never seen or heard of this extreme activity, you are likely wondering about bouncing around and getting injured. The fact is, these spheres are designed to minimize the impact of bumps while you are inside riding them. They are built with a ball inside a ball and with a layer of air between those balls, thus providing protection.

Zorbs or Orbs come in two different styles – harnessed and non-harnessed. Usually, harnessed orbs are built for one or two people and include a seatbelt-like mechanism. Non-harnessed can take up to three riders, but there are no seatbelts and they bounce more than the harnessed orb.

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Even though most people enjoy zorbing on land, you can add water inside the ball and make it a wet experience. There are theme parks in the U.K that allow “water walking” by placing the water orbs in a lake or large pool.

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If you think zorbing is something you’d like to try, check with some of your local resorts. A number of resorts, including ski hills have been known to offer zorbing.

This extreme sport is not without risk, as is the case with many extreme physical activities. According to the Mail Online, back in 2013 a Russian man died when his inflatable ball accidently plunged off a cliff at a resort. Onlookers reported that they thought the ball was going in one direction when it “suddenly veered” in another and headed straight for the cliff. The tragic accident brought about calls for barriers when zorbing and is a stark reminder to sports enthusiasts to do their homework when choosing a place to go zorbing. You need to know the lay-of-the land before you step foot inside a ball.

Those who have enjoyed zorbing for years say they believe that it can be fun and safe if it is played under the right conditions.

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