Strange Sports – Zorbing!

Zorbonauts don't actually leave the Earth's atmosphere, but it sure does feel like it!

Have you ever heard of bossaball or zorbing? If not, you’re not alone. everywhere the globe over individuals are trying to find ways to change the way traditional sports are played. If you’re not into soccer, lawn tennis or snowboarding, perhaps Zorbing is the sport for you.

Walk on Water

Zorbing was invented in New Zealand during the early 1990s by Andrew Akers and Dwayne van der Sluis, who started out by looking for a fun way to walk on water.

They made a few different prototypes and eventually came up with the zorb, an inflatable ball made of clear plastic with a space in the middle that’s big enough for a person to fit inside. The Zorb has often been called a giant human hamster ball!

Zorbing worked on water but they soon found it was even more fun on land, and a new adventure sport was born. Andrew and Dwayne describe it as “the sport of rolling down a hill at speed inside a giant inflatable ball.”

The first site was set up in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island, and since then zorb has rolled into Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

Blue and Green

A zorb, a gentle slope and a willing participant (called a zorbonaut) are all that’s needed to start zorbing. Once the journey is underway, a zorbonaut feels a strange sensation of weightlessness and sees a view of blue sky, followed by green grass, followed by blue sky, and so on.

As the old saying goes, blue and green should never be seen… except inside a zorb.

You might imagine zorbonauts emerging battered and bruised, or covered in the contents of their own stomachs. But the soft inflated sphere keeps them safely cushioned and Andrew and Dwayne claim that out of more than 100,000 zorbonauts, not one has ever thrown up!

Harness or Hydro

There are three types of zorbing:

  • Harness Zorb Ride – the passenger is strapped into the zorb before rolling down a hill.
  • Hydro Zorb Ride – a bucket of water is added to the zorb. The passenger isn’t strapped in and slips and sloshes around the inside of the ball as it rolls.
  • Zylinder Ride – developed for children who are too small for the big zorbs, the zylinder is shaped like a cylinder and is open on both sides so getting in and out is easy.


  • NASA has investigated using a zorb-like inflatable vehicle called the Tumbleweed Rover to explore the surface of Mars using wind power.

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