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what is zorbing

What is Zorbing (exactly what you need to know)

What is Zorbing? Is it a sport? Is it safe? What is special about it? Well, zorbing is a recreational activity that entails rolling downhill, walking on water, or a flat surface while inside a large air-cushioned hollow ball. One can also do it on water. The ball is plastic in nature and also doubled walled meaning that the rider is protected from the impact of hitting the ground over and over.

The ball (commonly known as an orb or zorb) has a volume of 15 to 15 m and its weight ranges between 80 to 90 kilograms. The elasticity of the ball is maintained by the air-cushioned between the inner and outer spheres of the orb. These spheres are connected by around 500 strings.

The ball has only one entrance. There is no emergency exit once you are inside a Zorb. While inside the Zorb, the zorbonaut needs to know that one can only be let out by a person on the outside since it can only be unzipped from the outside.

The recommended time for staying inside an orb ball is 15 minutes maximum. This is because a person will end up using all the available oxygen inside the ball. Since the ball is waterproof and airtight, it’s impossible for air circulation to take place hence one can easily suffocate if he or she stays for long inside the ball.

Rotorua New Zealand is where the sport began. This is where the first Zorbing site was created by a company known as ZORB Ltd. A lot of changes have taken place and the place has become popular with tourists and locals flocking to ZORB Rotorua, which is one of the most attractive zorbing sites.

The Birth of Zorbing

Our journey takes us back to the early 1970s in New Zealand, where the seeds of zorbing were sown. The picturesque landscapes of New Zealand, with its rolling hills and open spaces, provided the perfect backdrop for the birth of this exhilarating activity. It wasn’t until 1994 that zorbing gained international attention, marking a pivotal year in the history of this adventure sport.

At the heart of the zorbing phenomenon is Andrew Akers, a true visionary and the mastermind behind this unique concept. Hailing from New Zealand, Akers had a deep-rooted passion for outdoor activities and adventure sports. His background in engineering and his fascination with the great outdoors converged in a moment of inspiration that would change the world of extreme sports forever.

Akers’ journey from idea to reality was not without its challenges. Experimentation was key as he sought to perfect the design of the zorb, the plastic ball that enables the exhilarating roll down the hill. The design considerations were not solely about creating an adrenaline-pumping experience; safety and comfort were paramount. The materials, structure, and functionality of the zorb were meticulously fine-tuned to ensure a safe yet thrilling adventure for participants.

Zorbing Takes the World by Storm

Zorbing’s popularity spread like wildfire beyond the borders of New Zealand. The role of media and word of mouth cannot be underestimated in propelling this adventure activity into the limelight. Its impact extended beyond the realm of entertainment; zorbing breathed new life into the adventure tourism industry, drawing thrill-seekers from around the world to experience the rush of rolling down a gentle slope in a plastic ball.

What are the Different Types of Orbs

As zorbing’s popularity soared, so did the diversification of the experience. From the classic downhill roll to water zorbing and even harness zorbing, enthusiasts now have a variety of options to choose from. Water zorbing involves the orb floating on water, creating an entirely different sensation, while harness zorbing allows participants to remain upright during the roll. Each type of orb offers a unique twist on the adventure, catering to different preferences and levels of thrill.

Zorbing is made possible by two types of orbs namely: harnessed and non-harnessed orbs. Harnessed orbs have a smaller inbuilt capacity hence being able to accommodate one or two riders at one time. A non-harnessed orb has a larger inbuilt capacity and has been constructed to carry up to four riders.

Zorbing can either be dry or wet. In wet zorbing, the inner sphere of the ball is filled with about 50 liters of water. In dry zorbing, water is not used at all and the hands and legs of a zorbonaut are put in a starfish position.

Is Zorbing a Safe Activity/Sport

This is a question that disturbs a lot of people. The fact that a person rolls down a hill inside a ball is frightening and unimaginable to some people. An accident can indeed happen while zorbing. For example, the accident that happened in Russia where one man was killed and another was injured at a ski resort.

How a zorb is designed eliminates a lot of injuries. The ball’s flexible plastic layers are linked by a hundred pieces of ropes. The air layer inside the orb acts as a shock absorber. This means that the rider does not feel any impact at all while zorbing.

This two-layer system is what makes zorbing safe as it prevents injuries to people inside the orb while enjoying zorbing. If all the safety measures of zorbing are considered, the possibility of an accident happening during zorbing is reduced to almost zero.

How is a Zorb Ball Different from a Hamster Ball

Both hamster ball and Zorb ball look alike. One can easily confuse the two if he or she is not careful. The main difference between the two is that a hamster ball is made up of hard plastic while Zorb is made up of flexible (malleable) plastic.

The nature of hamster balls makes it unsafe for humans to use or to be used for fun activities. The flexibility of the plastic used in Zorb balls makes it a better choice for people. In addition, it’s safer and more enjoyable.

Who can go Zorbing

At what age does one stop using a Zorb ball? Well, Zorbing does not have an age limit. This is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether a child, a young person, or an adult, you can get inside a Zorb and have a time of your life. Anyone can be a zorbonaut.

What to note about children who want to do Aqua zorbing is that they have to be six (6) years and above. Harness zorbing does not have an age limitation because a zorbonaut body is harnessed. The only requirement is that one should be 4ft5” to participate. A supervisor should be near, hence they should not the left alone even if they insist they are okay on their own.

If children are having zorbing parties, adult supervision should be provided. It should also be checked if the zorbs are child-friendly to ensure they are no cases of injury.

Where can Zorbing Take Place

Zorb balls have a variety of uses. The activities that can be done in a zorb ball include:

– Snow rolling – involves rolling down a snow hill inside an orb ball. This mostly takes place in Ski resorts or uphill where there is snow.

– Walking on water – with this kind of zorbing activity, a person walks on water while inside an orb ball. It can be a single-layer ball or a double layer. The impact while zorbing on water is not the same as that of land hence it’s safe zorbing with a single layer orb ball while on water. Water orb balls have waterproof zippers and they are mostly found in marinas, lakes, and swimming pools.

– Walking on a flat surface – they are some orb balls that have places for legs. This means one can move on a surface while the rest of the body (from the waist or knees upward) is inside an orb ball.

– Downhill zorbing – this is perhaps the most common zorbing activity. It entails rolling downhill while inside an orb.

Zorbing Rules that Everyone Should be Aware of

Zorbing has simple rules mainly made for safety reasons. This is mainly because of the fact that it is not a competitive sport. Some of the rules include:

  • One should not wear clothes with zippersWhile shifting forward, one should not catch others
  • All jewelry should be removed prior to zorbing
  • The total weight of the zorbonauts should not be more than 360 pounds or 180 kilograms.
  • Zorbornuats should ensure their pockets are emptied.
  • A zorbonaut should not run into a person who is not in an orb.
  • The thickness of the zorb should be 0.03” or 0.8 millimeters.

Advantages of zorbing

– Can be done by anyone – zorbing has no limit to age or gender. It can be done by the whole family hence cab be a way to bond with family members. Whether young or old, you can get into a zorb and have fun.

– A Variety of places and terrains can be used – the sport can be played on flat surfaces, slopes (downhill), and also on water (it has a waterproof zipper). Water pools can also be used.

– It is safe – zorbing is a safe sport. The design (two spheres separated by air) of the ball makes it able to absorb shocks and reduce injuries hence being safe for human use.

– The zorb is breathable – although the ball is airtight, it is breathable. It has openings for breathing that eliminate the chances of a person suffocating. Water cannot go inside the ball through the openings.

Disadvantages of zorbing

– Not suitable for everyone – although zorbing can be done by anyone regardless of age, it’s not suitable for everyone. A person who has underlying medical conditions such as chronic respiratory diseases cannot do zorbing. This is because they will be putting their life in danger. This sport is not recommended for individuals suffering from certain diseases.

– Not all people are able to get inside orb ball – orb balls are constructed using average dimensions. This means people with special parameters in terms of weight and growth might not be part of the zorbing team. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds and with a high of 7.0 feet will be problematic not only getting inside the orb ball but also riding in it.


If you want to take your children on a holiday, try zorbing. It might seem like a dangerous sport but actually, it’s safe. The way the zorb is made makes it difficult or even impossible for a zorbonaut to be injured. Children like having fun and they are nothing that would make them happier than when they are playing you their parents. As a parent, you can join them. If you want to try something new, try this adventurous and fun sport.

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