Be warned — the world is about to be taken over by Zorbs! Luckily, they're pretty benign, and if your idea of entertainment is rolling around inside a giant hamster ball, you'll be welcoming them with open arms.
Invented in New Zealand by Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers, the Zorb is a clear plastic inflatable ball within a ball, large enough to hold a human being. To ride a Zorb, you get strapped into a harness inside the inner ball and roll down hills at speeds of up to 50 kilometers an hour. You get about two feet of air between you and the ground to cushion the impact. Alternatively, you can go hydrozorbing, where you ride, harness-free, inside the ball with a bucket of hot or cold water. Apparently, with hot water, it's a bit like a rolling sauna.
If you saw Peter Gabriel on tour a few years ago, you might have caught him rolling over band members in a Zorb during the song “Growing Up.” Or perhaps you've seen the one that was donated to two bored elephants at Auckland Zoo last year. Sadly, as tantalizing as the thought of an elephant in a Zorb is, they just push it around their enclosure.
There are Zorb sites popping up all over the world, with one opening up in Tennessee's Smoky Mountains early in 2007.
(Photos courtesy Zorb Ltd.)