As you probably already know, zorbing is a highly dynamic extreme sport. And as any other extreme sports out there, one of the main concerns that should take priority is safety. Now there have been people that might say that zorbing is a dangerous activity and there are risks involved. That is only partially true, since most of the risks are directly linked to the choices you make yourself. No matter what kind of zorbing related activity you decide to pick up (be it downhill zorbing, or zorb soccer, or water walking), you must be up to date with the safety precautions related to each of these sports.
By now you probably already know that zorbing mostly takes place on land, and that there are two types of rides involved (aqua zorbing and regular dry zorbing).
Aqua zorbing is usually done during the summer season and involves filling the zorbing ball with a layer of water. This allows the rider to slide on the bottom of the inner ball while the big inflatable ball travels downhill. The balls used in aquazorbing are different from the regular zorb balls because they have no harness inside. In addition to this, the entrance to the ball is very small in diameter, so that neither the water, nor the rider falls out of the sphere while it’s traveling.
Some safety precautions concerning aqua zorbing are: remove jewelry before the ride, wear summer clothing/ swimsuits, the combined weight of all passengers should generally be under 180kg.
Dry Zorbing Safety
On the other hand, we have regular dry zorbing. The spheres used in this activity come equipped with harnesses for your chest and also for your feet, and handles that you grab onto with your hands. One of the most important things to do when you decide to go for this ride, is to check that the harnesses are properly attached to the ball, and that once inside you are security strapped in. There have been situations when the harnesses were not properly fastened, and the ride resulted in serious injury.
Another very important thing to take into consideration, when going for harnessed zorbing is that this kind of ride is designed for two people at the same time. These balls come equipped with two passenger seats facing each other. It is important that both seats are occupied for the ride to go smooth. If only one passenger joins and straps himself in, there would be a geometrical unbalance inside the sphere, and while the ball rolls down the hill it might behave like a flat tire, bouncing unevenly, jumping all over the place and possibly going off course o resulting in injury. So keep that in mind, it’s an important point.
In both types of zorbing, another thing directly related to safety is whether or not the ball has been inflated properly. Use an electric pump to fill the ball with the proper amount of air in order for it to travel smoothly downhill. A badly inflated ball will result in a bad trajectory and can lead the ball of course.
Finally some general safety advice would include: do not try harnessed zorbing if you are prone to motion sickness, the combined weight of the riders should be under 180kg, jewelry should be removed prior to the ride, and last but not least, try to eat lightly in the hours before riding, since the tumbling sensation might cause unsafe results otherwise.
All the above facts should be taken into consideration, both if you own your own zorbing ball, or if you go to a zorbing amusement park. Don’t be shy to ask the park operators if everything is in order. There is no problem in asking them to double check if the harness has been fastened well enough. And don’t forget to double check yourself if you’re riding your own personal ball.
Pick A Safe Location
Last, but definitely not least, is the location where you’re going to go zorbing. Most parks have well-built tracks that are specially designed and suited for the sport. But there are some who might not be well equipped. What do we mean by that?
Well, the slope should be well covered in grass. There should not be any huge bumps that would cause the ball to lift off from the ground, because the impact could be harmful. And there should definitely be safety nets/ or special fences all along the edges of the ride, to prevent the ball from going off course.
At the end of the ride the terrain should be dug/built in such a manner that the ball is forced to come to a natural stop all by itself. Using nets to catch a rolling ball is not safe and unadvised. There have been situations where people tied nets between trees in order to stop the rolling ball. The nets gave way to the speeding ball and it all ended tragically.
If the park or ride does not have the necessary equipment, then we suggest you don’t go for it. Remember, safety always comes first.
Now if you choose to go zorbing all by yourself, be very careful of the location you pick. Pick a hill with a gentle slope that ends in a long surface of flat area, where the ball can naturally stop rolling. You need to be careful not to go zorbing near rivers, pits, sinkholes or any other type of dangerous terrain.
There have been cases where people tried to zorb from the top of a mountain, on an undeveloped terrain such as a ski slope, with no safety nets around, and only one operator at the end of the track who would presumably catch the ball. All it took was a small bump in the snow, for the ball to change course and head all the way down the mountain at high speed ending in disaster. In this kind of situation, of course zorbing is unsafe, but it all boils down to the people who decided to take this risk, and to the incompetence of the operators who chose to allow people to ride in such a location.
As long as you follow the above basic guidelines zorbing is a super safe sport one hundred percent!
Water Zorbing Safety
If you decide to go water zorbing, safety precautions are a bit different. If you go water zorbing in a regular zorb ball, then there is not much to worry about. The ball floats on the water and you will be safe walking inside it or tumbling, or whatever you choose to do. There have even been records of people trying to cross a whole sea in these inflatable balls without any incidents. So that is pretty much safe.
On the other hand, if you decide to go water zorbing inside the single layer water ball, there are definitely some things need to take into account.
First off, these balls are filled with air and sealed tight with a zipper. You must be aware of the fact that the air supply inside the ball is limited. Whenever you purchase one of these balls be sure to read the manufacturer’s specifications. You should not stay inside the ball for more than five minutes, because you could deplete the air supply, and that is risky. So if you’re going to do this, always have a watch by your side.
Under no circumstances should children be left unsupervised in these balls. If you purchase your own water ball at home, be sure to keep it out of reach of kids, when you’re not around.
The balls should also have a thread attached to them, so that when the time is up, they can be pulled to the shore where the rider gets out. There is little friction when the ball is on water, and the rider has no control of the direction the ball goes. That is why there has to be a person on the shore to pull back the ball and the rider. In addition to this, when setting the ball on the water surface you should do it at a smooth level, and, in no case drop it from a height because that could result in injury.