There's a Metaphor here somewhere...
July 8, 2005 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Right now, a roll downhill in a giant inflatable ball sounds like just the thing (Flash). A wander through Flickr led to a photo of a Zorb. A what!?! A Zorb! Several, in fact. It turns out that Zorbing has been around for some years now. It started in New Zealand and is catching on in the UK. It's not widely known in the US, and as a US person I've been un-blissfully unaware.
posted by mmahaffie (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not a number, I am a free man!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:41 PM on July 8, 2005 [2 favorites]

This photo is Steve Jobs demonstrating the iZorb at a recent Mac conference.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:44 PM on July 8, 2005


...Well, I thought I was funny, anyway.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:52 PM on July 8, 2005

You are number 14980.
posted by freebird at 6:07 PM on July 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm TwelveTwo.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:14 PM on July 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

I always wanted to try this. I wonder how it handles boulders and cliffs?

I had an idea like this a long time ago, but instead of a big plastic ball I wanted to bolt together a bunch of used tires in a big (say, 50 foot) geodesic sphere and suspend myself in a full harness with bungee cords holding it in the center, then get pushed off a pile of boulders, or a steep hill or something.

My ball of doom wouldn't float on water, though.
posted by loquacious at 6:19 PM on July 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

As the Wikipedia article mentions, Zorbing was prominently featured on an episode of "The Amazing Race" as one of the "roadblocks" they had to perform. It looked like fun.
posted by briank at 6:26 PM on July 8, 2005

Finally, a sport that seems appropriately futuristic. We have 60 GB mp3 players, goddamnit.
posted by Tlogmer at 6:29 PM on July 8, 2005

Nuh-NAAAAAAH... na-na-na-na-nah, na-nah, na-na, NAH, na-na, naaaaahh....
posted by JHarris at 7:21 PM on July 8, 2005

Where extreme sports are developed for everybody ­ not just those crazy kids who want to ride tornados.

[familyguy]Can't it be both?[/familyguy]

Seems a good way to ride a tornado to me! Or at the very least you could be enzorbed and then flung by a trebuchet.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:29 PM on July 8, 2005

Two of my friends did it in New Zealand while I stood around taking pictures (I'm a wuss). Apparently the biggest hazard is getting motion sickness while you're in it. Think "spin cycle."
posted by nev at 8:28 PM on July 8, 2005

You can find zorbs as far back as Jackie Chan's Operation Condor. He goes off a cliff in one.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:45 PM on July 8, 2005

They did this on MTV's the Road Rules, and yes, I know I am a loser.
posted by Mach5 at 9:45 PM on July 8, 2005

BlackLeotardFront took my reference for this post.
But it's nice to know what the hell Jackie was doing in that. I was hoping he didn't invent the damned thing.
posted by Busithoth at 9:56 PM on July 8, 2005

Having rolled down hills in or on a large number of circular objects, I'd have to say getting sick all over yourself in this thing would be a real hazard.

I think the worst was the afternoon my brother and I spent rolling each other around in a fiber drum that turned out to have once contained onion or garlic powder or something. I didn't throw up but I sure wish I did.

*gets dizzy and green thinking about it, lays down*
posted by loquacious at 10:12 PM on July 8, 2005

Featured prominently in Peter Gabriel's Growing Up Live DVD.
posted by ericb at 10:23 PM on July 8, 2005

Peter Gabriel - Zorb - "Growing Up" Tour.
posted by ericb at 10:33 PM on July 8, 2005

JHarris took my reference. First thing I thought of.
posted by zsazsa at 10:46 PM on July 8, 2005

concur it is fun. This is one of the thing I had on my "to do list" when I got to Kiwiland. Was well worth it.

There's a great option to include water inside the zorb too incase anyone want to know what the inside of a washing machine must feel like !
posted by doogyrev at 11:11 PM on July 8, 2005

I recall a Seagrams advert from decades ago. It was a man in what looked like a giant plastic bag, on water. Always thought that looked very interesting, and I wonder about zorbing across a lake. Not strapped down, but walking the ball like a hamster...unless the wind blows, I suppose :-))

Visually, that photo of Peter is awesome.
posted by Goofyy at 11:43 PM on July 8, 2005

Totally wanted to do it when I was in NZ, but didn't. Long story. Glad to hear it might be spreading to these fair shores.
posted by shoepal at 11:55 PM on July 8, 2005

Now, about Operation Condor and Jackie Chan: is it really a genuine Zorb® giant plastic ball, or was it something made by an impostor?
posted by bugmuncher at 4:40 AM on July 9, 2005

Metafilter: Now only one year behind Monkeyfilter
posted by spock at 6:53 AM on July 9, 2005

Perps in Mega City One used to encase themselves in spray-on breathable "Boing" bubbles and throw themselves off the top of skyscrapers in Judge Dredd, back in the early 1980s and bounce for hours. Now that sounds like fun.

The Prodigy used these "Zorns" extensively in their stage shows in the early-mid 90s.

We have 60 GB mp3 players

I have a 100 GB mp3 player. Nod bad for a four-year-old player. I gather you can go up to 120GB on that model, but then the disk controller craps out. Which is a pity, because Seagate just announced a 160GB mini drive.
posted by meehawl at 7:06 AM on July 9, 2005

I put a Hamster in one of those things, y'know, except smaller (I was maybe 10?). My brother and I were at the top of the stairs...with the cats....and the poor little hamster went flying down the stairs. All this little hamster throw-up inside.
posted by filmgeek at 7:13 AM on July 9, 2005

Sorry zsazsa, but I knew I had to get to it quick or someone would beat me to it.

My, Earth really is full of things!
posted by JHarris at 8:15 AM on July 9, 2005

A cheap alternative is to get an inner tube, a long sleeved shirt and jeans, then roll down the hill (watch out for rocks).
posted by abez at 1:38 PM on July 9, 2005

I'd like to be able to tell you all about my zorbing experiences as I got a trip on a zorb for my birthday (December) with Red Letter Days. Despite my informing them in March which days I could make they've yet to come up with a date and show no signs of being able to -- so maybe I'll pop back and tell you all sometime in 2008.
posted by handee at 8:06 AM on July 10, 2005

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