Zorbing

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Zorbing, also known as globe riding, sphereing or orbing, is an unusual sport that has developed over the last couple of decades. It involves rolling downhill inside an orb made out of transparent plastic. Whilst usually undertaken on a slight incline, the sport can be played on level ground, allowing for a higher level of control, or on a much steeper surface, allowing for higher speeds. The pioneers of Zorbing are David van der Sluis and Andrew Akers, who first undertook the sport in 1994 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

With the concept originating from the idea of hamster wheels, the sport is best known for it’s comical nature. There are two types of wheels that are used. Firstly, harnessed zorbs that hold 1-2 people and, as the name suggests, have harnesses to hold the passengers down.  The second type is Unharnessed zorbs, which hold 1-3 passengers and they are free to move within the sphere. This second type is generally for level surfaces and more casual participants of the sport.

Zorbing has become so popular in society that the Guinness World Records recognizes a number of Zorbing records. Steve Camp, who traveled 570 in a Sphere, holds the record for the Longest Zorb ride. Keith Kolver, who reached a speed of 52 km/h, holds the record for the fastest sphere ride. During the BBC’s charity event Sport’s Relief, ex-England cricketer Andrew Flintoff broke the record for the fastest 100m in a Zorb, with a time of 26.59 seconds.

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Another celebrity participant is actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who rode down 53rd Street, New York, in an OGO (a new Zorb brand developed by the original creators of the Zorb) whilst on the talk show The Late Show With David Letterman.

Whilst the sport is widely popular, there have been a few fatal accidents in recent years. In 2009 a teacher was killed and a student seriously injured whilst Zorbing in the Czech Republic. Just a few months ago a man died from a broken neck when their Zorb flew off course and rolled down a snowy mountain in Russia. The incident was caught on tape, and can be seen here.

Zorbing has been widely successful all around the world, available in a number of countries. In Australia, ‘OzBall’ is a company that offers Zorbing on the Gold Coast, which is just one example. The sport will only  grow and is a great fun for anyone.

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