I don’t know exactly what goes on inside Kiwis’ heads, or why they invented the Zorb. Is it that they have just eight television channels? Or that range animals overwhelmingly outnumber humans? The proximity to Antarctica?
There has to be some reason that Kiwis dream up contraptions and activities like bungee jumping, jet boats that spin in circles on the water and Zorbing.
Today, let’s talk about that last one … the Zorb sphere. Explaining this verbally is kind of tricky, so you’re lucky I have videos and photos to go along with the written word.
Imagine a giant beach ball with really thick walls. Let’s say it has a little tunnel leading to a human-sized inner chamber. You then dive into that chamber, and someone squirts a few gallons of water in there, seals the entrance and then rolls you and the ball down a hill lined with berms and turns.
Yep, that’s a Zorb sphere.
Sarah and I arrived in New Zealand with a full knowledge of Zorbing, and we were determined to
try it. We had some time to kill in Rotorua between geyers and stuff, so we headed out to the Agrodome, which has a number of crazy activities, some of which apparently involve sheep.
We had an array of Zorb choices: The twisty course, the straight course, wet, dry? We selected the wet twisty option, eliciting many choruses of “Good on ya” from the employees. Apparently, this is the favored option. If I recall right, it was $45 NZ.
Sarah went first as I shot photos. She emerged feet first, like the Green Giant’s golf ball giving birth to a human, complete with a rush of fluid. And like a newborn, she had a bit of trouble standing for a few seconds – the Zorb-O-Port employees had to prop her up a bit.
Then it was my turn. Clad only in a pair of shorts, I sat in the back of a truck with another couple. We drove to the top of the hill, where a conveyer belt-like device delivered the giant spheres. I was the first to go.
“Awright, mate,” one of the blokes told me. “Just back up, get a running start and dive into the hole!”
|Click to watch … you can see me slosh about and nearly go over the berm!|
I did as I was told, landing face-first in a puddle of water at the bottom of the inner Zorb chamber. The sphere was more opaque, so I couldn’t see out much. The bloke’s face appeared in the tunnel to the outside world.
“Awright, mate (most everything male Kiwis say starts with this phrase) … just push hard that way [points down hill], sit down and enjoy the ride,” he said.
So it began. The Zorb sphere quickly gained speed, and soon it crashed into a berm, bouncing me all sorts of ways around. Water was flying everywhere, and so was I. At this point, I was already laughing and gesticulating like an idiot to nobody in particular.
Moments later, it was all done. The blokes at the bottom corraled the sphere, aimed the hatch
downward, and out I slid with a hard THUMP! on the butt.
I was all excited and started telling my Zorb tale to the throngs waiting for their ride. Then I realized my wedding ring had slipped off – not to worry, though. We found it about five minutes later between the landing spot and the conveyor. Without further ado, on to my Zorbing tips!
1. Wear nothing but a swimsuit or shorts.
2. That means no jewelry, especially not rings!
3. Don’t be a wuss – choose the Zydro (wet and twisty).
4. Don’t hesitate when you enter, or you won’t make it all the way through.
To wrap it up, I simply want my own Zorb sphere and a decent hill. Or at least for Zorbing to become the next big thing here in the States.