When we decided that we were going to travel to New Zealand for our honeymoon, we started to do a little research into what there was to do. We talked to people, read blogs and got the requisite Lonely Planet book. Natural beauty topped our list of things to explore, but something else began to rise to the top of our to-do list: zorbing.
Zorbing is an activity that many consider to be uniquely Kiwi, since it’s quirky and fun, like Kiwis are. To “zorb,” you climb into a giant padded plastic ball with a little bit of water, and you roll down a grassy hill. In the version we did (shoutout to honeymoon sponsor Laura VT – thanks!), you can go straight down the hill in your ball and race a friend, or you can get in the ball with someone and go down a curvy course together. This being our honeymoon, we opted to go together on the curvy course, which meant periodically smacking into each other while the ball rolled along its course, screaming and laughing the whole way down. It was probably the most fun we’ve ever had. I was holding a waterproof Go Pro camera in my hand the whole time, but tragically, it didn’t record the journey. Which means we will have to do this again and document it for all to enjoy.
Outside Rotorua, where we “zorbed,” there were two companies that conducted this strange yet wonderful activity. The company we went with was called OGo. If you talk to them, they were the original creators of the ball and the idea, which they called (and still do call) OGoing. OGo has a few locations in New Zealand and one in Iowa, USA. At first, Iowa struck me as an add place for such an activity, until you consider that it needs to be done on grass and on a small hill, not a mountain and no rocks. The prairie makes total sense when you think about it.
The other company was Zorb, hence the name zorbing. Probably for copyright reasons, the zorb is slightly different, according to our research (driving past the Zorb site in the car), consisting of a slightly different shaped ball and a different track. Given the popularity of the term “zorbing” versus O-Going, I’d venture a guess that the Zorb company is doing better than their first-to-market counterparts, proving that naming a fun activity as something vaguely reminiscent of urination is a bad way to go. But that is an easy fix.
I want to take OGo to somewhere other than Iowa because I think it would be a wildly popular activity for thrill seekers across the country. It might have some pretty steep startup fees, but once you got it going, I think it would go like gangbusters. Rebecca thought immediately of Boise, ID, which might just be weird enough to love it. Plus, Idahoans are polite enough to try something once, even if it sounds totally ridiculous. We think it would fit in well with the outdoorsy culture there, and it might help put Boise on the map for something other than blue turf. So if this communications career doesn’t work out, I will be looking to franchise OGoing somewhere near me.
So what I’m saying is, try zorbing. It’s really fun. And if you think the way we do about it, start your own franchise in your small city of choice. My guess is that it would be a welcome change of pace for the adventurers near you.