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Gadling goes Zorbing
Various iterations of the sport have been around for a few years now, including an official franchise in Tennessee and a whole host of copycats, but the technology was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, a small, adventure-centric town three hours south of Auckland.
Here, you can get your Zorb in a few different flavors: alone, with water, with a friend, down a zig zag path, or combinations therein. Since I was with another guy and wanted the "ultimate experience," I chose to take the zig zag path with water.
So what's it like?
Well, at the bottom of the hill you first change into swim trunks, then they shuttle you to the top and you jump in line. Once it's your turn, they ask if you want water (highly recommended) then they toss a bucket full of warm water into the waiting Zorb. Draping a slippery rug into the entry, the attendant asks you to dive in, then they zip closed the inner sphere. On three, you kick back towards the bottom of the hill, and off you go.
The whole thing lasts about 45 seconds, but it's the most disorienting, wonderful, happy experience of your life. The Zorb spins below you as you try to maintain some sense of location and focus, then as it changes directions you bounce back and forth inside of the inner sphere. It's fun in a wholly wild, new way.
Worth the $35 to ride? Sure, at least once. Check out a video of the experience after the jump.