By Doyice Cotten
Two Russian men, out for some adventure, paid the equivalent of $10 each and tried their hands at the new adventure sport, zorbing. Zorbing consists of rolling down a ski slope or grassy hill inside a giant inflatable ball. One of the men, a 27 year-old and father of two, was killed and the other badly injured when the ball veered off course and rolled over a precipice. A complete report comes from Fox News. The Fox report includes a video of the incident.
According to Wikipedia, after some early efforts in Russia and elsewhere, zorbing got its official start in New Zealand in 1994. Apparently Zorb franchises are now available in the United States. Zorb has detailed safety guidelines at all of their locations. Current official locations are ZORB Rotorua NZ · ZORB Amesbury USA · ZORB Guam USA · ZORB Smokies USA. Customers considering patronizing a non-official zorbing site should ask the site operators “Do you comply with the Code of Safe Operations for plastic globes?”; “Are you a signatory to the Code?” If they are not, you might be wise to pass.
To be fair to Zorb, however, it must be pointed out that the accident did not occur at an official Zorb site. In reaction to the deadly accident, one of Zorb’s founders stated the accident was “completely avoidable” if Zorb’s safety standards had been adopted; and that the company has had 17 years of safe operation with hundreds of thousands of customers. While this company may have a safe record, the fact remains that zorbing can be a very dangerous sport when safety measures are not taken. Hopefully, no companies other than the Russian provider understand that it might be wise to NEVER LOCATE THE ACTIVITY NEXT TO A PRECIPICE.