Zorbing may be advertised as a family experience or recreational activity, but at its core it can be placed in the category of extreme sports. In its home country of New Zealand, zorbing is ranked among the top ten extreme sports the destination has to offer. What makes this sport comparable to the likes of bungee jumping or even ziplining is the fact that it is packed with an adrenaline punch, extensive fun and the little edge of danger that makes any sport extreme. It may be available to children that are older than the ages of 7 – 14, depending on the venue and company, and it does have a high level of safety, but the risks remain and are the reason it is placed in its adventurous category.
Traditional zorbing is the original form of the sports and involves an inflatable sphere with a diameter roughly between 10 and 12 feet. Many zorbs vary in size, material and design, particularly evolving as the industry expands. Inside the main sphere is a smaller sphere with air that creates a cushioning in between the two. Riders then climb inside the small sphere. This can be done in two ways which are both equally thrilling. The first is done with the passenger(s) harnessed into the zorb, usually done with two people. Alternatively, hydro zorbing is done without the harness and with around 40 litres of water inside the zorb to create a slippery experience as riders speed down the hill.
The experience might still not sound like it belongs among other extreme sports, but once the passenger is inside the zorb is when the ride becomes exhilarating. The zorb is push from the top of a hill and left to roll freely to the bottom where it will be stopped, and the passengers can exit. What’s extreme is that while some venues used guided or restricted tracks, many landscapes are left open for the zorb to essentially roll where it may. The speed at which the zorb launches down the hill can reach up to 30mph or more, while the passenger is hurtled around within it. While there are safety measures, there is no doubt that it lies on the extreme side of outdoor adventures. It might not be for those with claustrophobia or a weak stomach, but it appeals to those who have the courage to try it.