Zorbing has existed for over fifteen years in Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand. It was unlike anything I’d ever done.
In 2005, I had only one zorbing option because of my height (I’m only 4’11”). There was a dry option and a wet one. For the dry one, you must reach the shackles near the top and bottom curvatures of the ball. For the wet one, there was water, an inner ball, a hillside, and a flying leap.
In front of me was what looked like a combination of a huge golf ball, a bubble blown from the wand of a child and the largest clear plastic beach ball I’d ever seen. It was taller than me by six feet or so and wider by at least the same. There was no harness, track, or safety helmet. A man at the top of the hill would tell me what to do, hold my zorb and hurl me down that hill while another at the bottom would hopefully halt my zooming zorb. “Deep breath”, said the voices in my head.
A headfirst dive flung me into a smaller circle inside my giant zorb. “Plop”! I fell into about 4 inches of water that would continue to slosh me around my entire descent. “Ready”, asked my Zorb Master. As I nodded with uncertainty, he closed the door. “Yeah, this was normal”, I thought. The zorb rocked back and forward and then I was off to tumble into oblivion.
The outer circle spun down the hillside at what felt like Formula 1 speed. A constant stream of shrieks and laughter escaped my lips as I whirled in my water-lined ball. “Whack” was all I heard as I whipped in all directions while my mode of transport plummeted from what felt like space to earth. It was over in a flash. I had landed, lived and most certainly zorbed!
Had it not been for photographic evidence friends wouldn’t have believed me. I leapt, and the net appeared in the form of a ball of plastic in a tiny country about as far from mine as you can fly. New Zealand is not for the faint of heart and zorbing is part of the adventurous spirit of its culture. If you have the opportunity to visit the untouched beauty in the land of the Maoris, consider yourself lucky. Leap…and your zorb will appear.