When I first saw Rover from The Prisoner, I thought it was terrifying and I had nightmares throughout my childhood of being chased by a giant white ball. It wasn’t until Jackie Chan rolled in a giant hamster ball down a hill at the start of Operation Condor, that I began to forget my fear and learn to love what would soon be named Zorbing / Sphereing. This guest post from travel expert Kwesi Greenidge gives the run down on just what Zorbing is and where you can get to experience it.
Have you ever stared down at a hamster in its exercise ball and thought I’d love to do that? Well now you need wonder no more. There are an ever increasing loyal number of extreme sport fanatics who are paying for the privilege of being pushed down a hill in a huge plastic ball. This is Zorbing – a recreational activity that emerged in the early 21st century.
What is Zorbing / Sphereing?
Dwayne van der Sluis and Andrew Akers conceived the idea for this type of sphere in the mid-nineties in Auckland, New Zealand, calling their invention the Zorb. Originally designed to to come up with a solution to walking on water Zorbing has grown rapidly and is now practiced all over the world. Zorbing sites can be found in England, Scotland, New Zealand, Sweden, Estonia, Australia’s Gold Coast, the Czech Republic, Japan, Thailand and Slovenia.
The Zorb or Sphere is made from light weight flexible plastic and comprises of a sphere which houses the rider inside another larger sphere which stands 3 meters tall. The two spheres are connected by thousands of nylon ropes which give the structure its light yet cushioning properties. Riders are strapped in to an almost seated position in preparation for this thrill ride. Those with no fear, there are variations of rides where passengers can ride Zorbs without being strapped in!
If the thought of being strapped in a ball that is hurtling down a hill at 30 mph isn’t extreme enough for you then you may want to give Hydro-Zorbing a try. Hydro-Zorbing takes you from being a hamster to being… well laundry in a very strange washing machine! Hydro-Zorbing puts you on the spin cycle with the added element of water splashing around in the rider chamber! If you’re feeling a little nervy about the descent from the top to the bottom of the slope, fear not because you and a friend can share the Zorbing experience together. The Zorb is capable of carrying up to three riders quite comfortably and this option is perfect for reminding your mates about the petrified expression you had staring back at you!
Where Can I Go Zorbing?
The price of a single Zorb ride starts from around £35, with a double Zorb ride with a friend varying between £50 and £60, depending on the type of Zorbing experience you want.
Zorbing venues are located up and down the country with more and more sites popping up all the time. Here are some of the establish venues:
- • Bockhampton, Dorset
- • Brighton, West Sussex
- • Chepstow, Gloucestershire
- • Leeds, Yorkshire
- • Macclesfield, Cheshire
- • Newcastle, Northumberland
- • Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
- • Oxford, Oxfordshire
- • Perth, Scotland
- • Stevenage, Hertfordshire