You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic
by Amy Lignor
No, the sport is not called ‘Zorba’, but it most definitely fits for this article’s title. This most unusual sport is actually called ‘Zorbing’, and has caught on like wildfire across the globe. And now, seeing as that the NBA has wrapped, with Golden State proving that they were determined to make amends for last season; and with the NHL closing up shop for the season with the Penguins raising that ginormous Stanley Cup high in the air, it seems like a truly good time to switch gears and talk about the sport that’s getting more and more attention by the minute.
Zorbing is being performed at various commercial locations, where prospective riders either pay a fee for each ride or for a whole day’s activity. With new locations for this sport popping up all around the world, it is now being practiced in the U.K., New Zealand, Estonia, Australia, Poland, Japan, India, and more. Even America boasts facilities ranging from Wisconsin to Massachusetts, with several franchise-based companies entering the market (i.e., SphereMania and Orb 360).
Zorbing is seen as both a recreation and a sport. Rolling downhill while inside a normally transparent plastic orb/sphere, people have begun with rides down a gentle slope and then moved on—much like extreme skiers and skateboarders—to more inclined surfaces. The sport has also crossed-over into the water sports arena. Due to the buoyant orbs, zorbing has led to “water-walking” which has become popular in various theme parks.
It was back in 1994, in Auckland, New Zealand, when Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers first came up with the idea, creating a type of sphere and calling their invention the “Zorb.” Teaming up with a duo of investors, the firm ZORB Limited came into being and developed a sport and business model based on commercialized sphering.
When the creators moved on to other career paths and later in life producing other ‘orb’ products, it was in 2006 that ZORB’s European master franchise operator and Hungarian master franchise operator ended their affiliation with ZORB and started their own manufacturing and consultancy firm dedicated to the sport called, Downhill Revolution.
Zorbing finally entered the “real sports world” by being placed in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001, clearly defined as: “a sport in which a participant is secured inside an inner capsule in a large, transparent ball which is then rolled along the ground or down hills”.
There are extreme sports in a variety of categories, as well as some that many people originally thought to be nothing but silly. But there is no denying that, in 2017, zorbing is an increasingly popular sport. While rolling down a hill strapped inside a giant inflatable ball, speeds can be reached of more than 30 miles per hour, with the current record holder topping this at 32 miles per hour. New “teams” are being formed who compete in the sport, so whether you be a sports enthusiast or simply one who loves a good thrill (much like a roller coaster ride), zorbing is definitely the thing to get in on. Done in a controlled environment, or a specially designed location, it is absolutely safe.
There are even vacations offering the ‘best of the best’ in zorbing activities, including the UK’s largest and most exciting zorbing park. A venue situated perfectly in London, “Go Zorbing” offers a truly exhilarating and professionally designed course.
Who knows? The way things are going, in just a few short years the sport of zorbing may have its own team raising their very own gigantic “Zorba Cup” into the air, proclaiming themselves as winners of a truly unique ‘downhill’ season.
Source: Baret News