Zorbing In America

Tennessee is home to the first Zorb® in the U.S. — Zorb® Smoky Mountains. What, you ask, is a Zorb? Simply put, a Zorb is a large inflatable plastic ball that measures approximately 11 feet in diameter and weighs almost 200 pounds. But the Zorb’s vital statistics don’t begin to tell the whole story; it’s what you can do inside a Zorb that counts. Passengers — or Zorbonauts — fit inside the ball and experience countless thrills as the Zorb rolls several hundred feet down a hill. A cushion of air inside the ball protects the Zorbonauts throughout the descent. Welcome to the world of extreme sports in Pigeon Forge.

Zorb Smoky Mountains offers two types of Zorb rides, both very different. The Harness Zorb ride calls for the passenger to be strapped inside the Zorb with a harness. The result — very often a feeling of weightlessness as the ball rolls downhill. During the Hydro Zorb ride, Zorbonauts remain unharnessed but share the Zorb with a bucket of water, creating a very slippery ride. Up to three people can ride inside a Zorb ball. There is also a Zorb experience expressly designed for children under age six.

Zorb Smoky Mountains will open in Pigeon Forge in late 2007. Zorb originated in New Zealand, a country known for its extreme sports and outdoor adventures.

What Are Zorb Balls Made From?

The Zorb Ball is a double hulled sphere, with one ball inside the other with an air layer in between. This acts as a shock absorber for the Zorbanout, leveling out bumps while traveling. It also allows for a much more light-weight Zorb Ball made of flexible plastic, as opposed to the rigid plastic of a hamster ball. Many Zorb's have straps to hold the rider in place, while others leave the rider free to walk the sphere around or be tossed about freely by the rolling motion. A typical spheres is about 9 feet across, with an inner sphere size of about 6 feet, leaving a 30 inch air cushion around the rides. The plastic is approximately 0.8 mm thick. The inner and outer sphere are connected by numerous (often hundreds) of small ropes. Zorb Balls generally have one or two tunnel-like entrances. The plastic used is affected by temperature, so spheres cannot be used when temperatures fall below approximately 30 degrees.