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Zorbing experience day gift left us deflated

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My girlfriend and I received a gift voucher for an experience day Zorbing last Christmas and as we had been rather busy year, we decided to book our Zorbing day in October (last weekend actually).

For those who don't know, Zorbing is classed as an adrenaline or thrill sport, perhaps not in the same league as Sky Diving or Microlight flying but it's generally considered to be quite an exciting sport.

Basically, the participants sit inside a large plastic ball strapped to a harness.  In actual fact they're inside a plastic ball which is inside a larger one with a cushion of air in between.  This ball (called a Zorb) is then allowed to roll down a hill and can reach speeds of up to 30mph whilst the occupant of the ball spins around inside.  In some cases they're not in a harness and sometimes water is added to enhance the thrill.  That's the key word by the way - "thrill", because it's meant to be thrilling!

Anyway, back to the gripe - which in this case was our slightly less thrilling Zorbing day.  By the way, a roll down a hill will generally cost around £40 - £60 which is quite a lot of money for a minute or so of excitement.  Some Zorbing places will throw in a free roll down the hill as well.  I'm sure a roll down a hill lasting a minute probably be fun, but as I've never experienced that I just can't say for sure.  Our Zorbing day wasn't that spectacular and fortunately for us we hadn't seen any of the videos on You Tube so we really didn't know what to expect.

To start with we were taken by Landrover across a muddy paddock to the field that was used for Zorbing.  I had expected to see a reasonable hill but instead there was only a very slight incline; the run used for the Zorb wasn't particularly long either.  By the way the staff (two men plus the girl that brought us up in the Landrover) were all very friendly and seemed fairly professional so no I have no issue with them.  The problem was the event itself and the equipment used.  The Zorb for example was a bit of a surprise, it was more egg shaped than spherical and the reason soon became quite clear.  When we arrived some other people were in the middle of a run and when the Zorb was brought back to the starting ramp, the two men used a couple of modified leaf blowers to re-inflate the Zorb.  It obviously had a leak and was becoming quite deflated by the end of the run.  I didn't dwell on this at the time, but after checking out a few videos on You Tube have since realised that this is a Zorb right at the end of it's lifespan and it probably shouldn't have been used for paying customers.

When our turn came we were strapped into the Velcro harness and proceeded to tumble down the VERY gentle slope.  It was a very unusual experience, quite exciting but also a little worrying as I was aware the Zorb was rapidly loosing air.  One of the men had explained that they tend to leak around the harnesses and that it was a couple of years old hence the "small" air leaks.  During the run as we spun upside down our heads were constantly being pushed by the side walls as our Zorb came into contact with the ground.  Presumably this would not have been as noticeable in a fully inflated one.  It was actually quite worrying towards the end of the run because I thought our heads were going to make contact!

My girlfriend's sister and her husband were there to video the event so we were able to watch it all on the laptop later that evening.  You could actually see us wallowing down the field rather than rolling.  Another peculiar thing was that instead of just rolling down a hill on its own, our Zorb was pushed along by the two men right to the end.  Presumably this was because of a lack of proper incline and the resistance created by our 'misshaped vehicle'. 

Anyway, we didn't reach much more than a brisk jogging speed and our thrilling ride lasted only about 30-35 seconds - a grand total of 25 or so revolutions by my reckoning having seen the video.  As we had a voucher we hadnt paid any money for our Zorbing experience day, but how much would you be prepared to pay for what I have just described?


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Kate

Kate

Yep I agree, we went with a different company and it was a total disappointment. My Mum paid £100 for four of us to 'experience' zorbing', obviously expecting it would be an exhilarating, fun-filled hour or so for all of us. Instead we spent well over an hour getting there and approximately 1 minute in the zorb, with about 20-30 seconds rolling. And that's it! No second run, no longer course. You get out, completely non-plussed, and you drive home. So disappointing.
Kate
24th May 11 13:36

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5
Grumpy xx

Grumpy xx

I think I'd rather ride by Brommy along Blackheath Avenue inside Greenwich Park and coast down the path that takes you directly into the village. That really is an exhilarating experience - and a lot cheaper as well. The idea of paying £40 for a shot at role-playing a pillowcase in a tumble dryer doesn't appeal to me at all.
Grumpy xx
23rd Oct 10 23:30

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adrenoid

adrenoid

I went to ZORB Rotorua (in New Zealand) and it was totaly tame and not dangerous at all. Yu'd have to roll down a mountain side to spice it up.
adrenoid
22nd Oct 10 16:01

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mardi gras the candyman can

mardi gras the candyman can

I believe that this is a somewhat old sport. I too saw the documentary with jeremy clarkson about 15 years ago. it probably is quite fun but I have to say that I do not understand the appeal of putting yourself in physical danger. bravery is something to look up to however if you are being brave to show off then it could be classed as a form of stupidity.
mardi gras the candyman can
21st Oct 10 20:27

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AOD

AOD

Cynical Misery: You should see the aircraft we used to jump out of down at Weston-on-the-green, it wasn't what I'd call serviceable, you were glad to jump out of the old rust bucket. I'm sure it was actually, it just didn't smell right or look right. Maybe that was a ploy just to encourage you to 'exit'. Actually, it's quite a thrilling sport and flying (piloting) is very enjoyable too.
AOD
21st Oct 10 18:54

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Cynical Misery

Cynical Misery

All these "experiences" seem to rely on enthusiasts suggesting that the experience is "thrilling", yet there appears to be more than an element of "The King's New Clothes", no one is willing to admit the experience is frankly crap because they don't want to admit they were conned. As a (pilot) friend once said about sky diving, "I fail to see the point of jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft".
Cynical Misery
21st Oct 10 18:24

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ZORBguru

ZORBguru

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your globe riding (rolling down a hill in a large inflatable ball) experience. What you have described is not a 'thrilling' experience at all! Just to note - the site you describe does not sound like an official ZORB site!!!

The image you have included in this gripe was taken at ZORB Rotorua (in New Zealand). If you want the authentic, thrilling, ZORB experience, we would recommend you head out to an official ZORB site. There'll be a decent hill, original ZORB globes, and no guys running behind you pushing you down the hill!!! We would hope that we could change your perception of globe riding altogether!!
ZORBguru
21st Oct 10 02:34

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mardi gras the candyman can

mardi gras the candyman can

I saw an extract on zorbing on ''jeremy clarkson's extreme machines''. it is supposed to be really fun and safe. I am not sure that I would want to do it though. what is it about extreme sports that people find so thrilling. being on the edge of death is not what I would call fun.
mardi gras the candyman can
20th Oct 10 19:28

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miserablemoaninggit

miserablemoaninggit

With today's spending review resulting in massive cuts over the next few years, there will be more and more 'rip-offs'; so-called experiences simply designed to 'leak' significant amounts of money from your wallet. Your obviously disappointing 'zorbing experience' should remind us that we need to be on our guard against unscrupulous people, towns, councils, private companies - all aiming to relieve us of our cash for very little in return. It's a pity that you (whoever you are - I've noticed that The Weekly Gripe often now does not put a name to a gripe) cannot be a little more specific about your zorbing day, in terms of where it occurred etc. Quite simply, you were ripped-off!
miserablemoaninggit
20th Oct 10 18:24

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