Zorbing: What Is It and How Is It Played?

There are many popular sports around the world, such as basketball, baseball, boxing, and more. However, there are also those that are quite strange and new to our vocabulary. One of those is zorbing. The sport is also called globe-riding, orbing, or sphereing. It is a kind of recreation or sport of rolling downhill while inside an orb that is usually made of transparent plastic. It is an extremely adventurous sport that is practiced on either a slope or a leveled surface. 

Zorbing is a popular sport in theme parks, where it is mostly carried out on a water surface. That is also known as Water Zorbing, which is another variant of the sport. If you are curious about what this sport is and how it is played, read on as we’ll give you more information about it. 

History of Zorbing

The history of zorbing can be traced back to the 1970s, when hamster balls were invented. Those balls were originally created for small rodent pets. The very first instance of zorbing ball was recorded in the 1980s when the Dangerous Sports Club made a hollow sphere of 23 meters with a space of putting two chairs inside of it. 

Since 1990, large spheres for humans have been exhibited in mass media, particularly when the Gladiators event called “Atlaspheres” was first aired. The actual sport was developed around the mid-1990s. Its idea was presented by David Akers and Andrew Akers in New Zealand. From then on, the sport was received positively and has become popular. 

In the 1991 film Armour of God II: Operation Condor, Jackie Chan had a stunt scene that used a flexible plastic orb that looks similar to a zorb ball. After that, zorbing became the most demanding sport in the world of adventures. In 1994, Zorb Limited was founded to commercialize zorb spheres in New Zealand. They aim to popularize the game by selling activity balls. 

In the present time, zorbing is popularly performed in different countries. Hill riding events are very popular in New Zealand, Canada, Phuket, United Kingdom, and more. However, in recent years, there were also a lot of injuries that questioned the existence of the game. With this, the Russian authorities introduced safety laws for the sport in 2013.

Orb Construction

people water zorbing

The orb or ball used in zorbing has two sections. There is one ball inside the other with an air layer in between. It acts as a shock absorber for the player. Orbs are made of flexible and lightweight plastic. The majority of them have straps where players can hold onto to stay in place. But there are also some orbs that do not have these, leaving the players free to walk the orb around or be tossed about freely when it rolls. 

Typically, orbs used for zorbing are about 3 meters or 10 feet in diameter, with an inner orb size of around 2 meters or 6ft and 7 inches. There are 50 to 60 centimeters or 20 to 24 inches of space for the air cushion around the riders. The plastic used is about 0.8 millimeters or 0.03 inches thick. The outer orbs and the inner orbs are connected by small nylon strings. They also feature one or two entrances that look like a tunnel. 

What are the General Rules in Zorbing?

a zorbing event with inflatable course

Zorbing, unlike other sports, does not have any competition involved. Therefore, it does not have complicated rules. Most of its rules are just for safety purposes. Here are some of them:

  • The players are not allowed to bump into other players while tilting their orb forward. 
  • Players are not allowed to wear clothes with zippers. Their pockets should also be empty before playing.
  • Any kind of jewelry is not allowed during an event.
  • The zorb plastic should be around 0.8 mm or 0.03 inches thick. 
  • The orbs need to be connected with many small nylon strings along with one or two entrances. 

Fun Facts About Zorbing

Here are some fun trivia about zorbing:

  • Zorbing is a very popular sport in the coastal areas of India. It is played on both water surface and plane surface.
  • The zorb balls are chosen as a symbol in the Sochi Winter Olympics that was held in Russia in 2014.
  • A zorb ball is filled with a supply of oxygen inside the core. It is ideal for players who do not have issues with carbon dioxide inhalation.
  • Even though a zorb ball looks similar to a hamster ball, they differ in physics. A zorb rolls down a slope due to gravity, which is different from a hamster ball.
  • On September 8, 2019, James Duggan did the fastest 100 meters zorbing in just 23.21 seconds. He held the fastest 100 meters in the Maguire Harvest Festival that was held in Ireland. 
  • Rebecca Mazonson held the world record of the fastest zorbing ride, riding the zorb with a speed of 32 mph. However, her record was broken by Keith Kolver, who rode a zorb with a speed of 32 mph. 
  • Rebecca Mazonson has the record for the longest time spent inside a zorb ball, which was done during a zorbing event. She stayed inside the zorb for three hours, forty-nine minutes, and six seconds. 


Zorbing is indeed an interesting and fun sport to try. It is a perfect sport for those who are searching for something new. For some people, zorbing is a very adventurous sport. But there are also some who view it as a recreational activity for fun. How about you, would you try zorbing when given a chance?

We hope the information we shared here helped you learn more about zorbing. For more unique sports, you can check out our list of Unusual Sports You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.