Monday, March 01, 2010

In The Orb of The Zorb

On a recent trip to Boracay, my friends and i decided to check out the latest craze to hit the island: The ZORB BALL. I first saw this on Sports Unlimited where Diane & Marc tried to Ride the Zorb in a trip to Boracay. And since it looks fun, I told myself i'd try this out on my next Bora trip. And that Bora trip came sooner than I expected.Ü

So what actually is a Zorb Ball? A Zorb Ball is an inflatable hollow ball with a wide enough opening for a person to be able to fit through. Where did this craze originate? From New Zealand, where the original Zorbers are ( The Ride The Zorb place at Boracay is said to be a franchise from NZ (although i'm wondering why it's not listed in the Zorb site), and they offer two types of "rides": (1) The Hydro Ride and (2) The Harness Ride.

The Hydro Ride, as the name suggests, involves water since the riders are placed inside the Zorb Ball together with a depth of an inch or two of water. The purpose of the water is to let the riders glide inside the Zorb while the ball is rolled down a not-so-steep hill. Up to three riders are allowed to ride the Zorb at one time as long as the total weight of all riders do not exceed 180kg, hence the mandatory weigh-in before you are allowed to ride any Zorb (So all weight watchers out there, beware! Now is the time to know the truth & nothing but!). Oh, and standing inside the Zorb is a big NO-NO! And cameras are not allowed while inside the Zorb for the very reason that this might rupture the Zorb Ball and deflate it in no time (so we weren't able to use our waterproof camera). Hence, watches, rings, and any accessories with sharp edges will have to be removed before zorbing.

The Hydro Ride prices vay depending on the number of riders: a SOLO ride costs P580; a DOUBLE costs P380; while a TRIO costs P300 (all costs are on a per person basis). The Harness Ride, on the the other hand, is fixed at P380/person and it is mandatory to have two riders in it (otherwise you'll end up with a lopsided ball rolling down the hill).

More stringent rules are applied in the Harness Ride as compared to the Hydro Ride. First is that the rider must not exceed 80kg in weight. And since the riders are on opposite sides of the ball, their weight difference must not exceed 20kg. Since we didn't do this Harness Ride (we're reserving it for another Bora trip Ü), I didn't ask the reason behind this rule. I'm guessing it's to prevent that "lopsided ball rolling down the hill" kind of thing from happening. I'll ask next time.Ü And one last rule for the Harness Ride is that the riders must be at least 5 feet tall. So does this mean that our dear President GMA won't be allowed to ride the Harness Zorb? LOL!Ü Good thing there's the Hydro Zorb without any height limit!Ü

Since doing the Zorb Ball was my idea, and no one wanted to go first, my friend and I were the guinea pigs in our group so to speak. We headed up the incline without our slippers on (they asked us to remove it at the foot of the incline or what I want to call as "base camp") and when we got there, they were already putting water inside the ball (the balls were already inflated, thank God!Ü). When the water was already enough (how do you measure "enough"...i don't really know...), they asked us to go inside the ball, one by one, head first. When we were both inside the ball, I told my friend: "Ganito pala ang feeling ng nasa loob ka ng ball." So, what actually is the feeling of being inside a hollow ball? Hmmm...nothing special actually. When they covered up the hole where my friend and I got in and started inflating the small ball that they used to cover it up (imagine a munchkin fitting in the hole of a donut), I got a bit nervous coz I was afraid our oxygen supply inside the ball would run out. And then I told my friend: "Kaya pala sandali lang ito kasi baka wala na tayong hangin pagdating dun sa baba." So I guess you can't Zorb from the top of Mt. Everest coz your oxygen supply would run out. (But who would want to do that??!!!???!!!Ü)

When we were all set, the manong removed the rope stopping the ball from rolling down the incline and let us loose. Of course we started shouting (or at least I started shouting Ü) as we started rolling down the not-so-steep incline. I remember thinking: So this is how it feels like to be inside the washing machine. Cool!Ü And one other thing I remembered is my friend's legs being right in front of my face the whole time! It was so funny! And lots of fun! I actually didn't want it to end yet but 20 seconds was all it took to get from the top to base camp where everyone was waiting with their cameras. The manongs stopped the ball by guiding the ball up the small incline at the base (to stop the ball from accelerating...hello, laws of physics!) and then guiding it as it goes back down to a full stop (this is hard to explain...just watch the video Ü). And then they removed that munchkin of a ball (Hello air, I missed you!) and asked our friends to take our photos while we were still inside the Zorb. Of course we were all wet with all the rolling and sliding inside the ball but hey, it was 101% fun! When the photo ops were done, we were asked to slide out the Zorb, one by one, feet first. When I got out, I told the manongs: "Ganito pala ang pinapanganak!" LOL!Ü It was my re-birth! Right there in Bora! (So...can I now start celebrating my re-birthday every February 7th?Ü)

Since my friend and I were the guinea pigs, we didn't know that you can actually ask to get rolled over by the Zorb Ball. Apparently, one of our friends was lying face down on the grass, trying to be as flat as possible, while we were rolling down the incline inside the Zorb. When we learned about this, we decided to get rolled over too! Must make the most out of this Zorb experience! So we did! And all I can say is: Na-bale ata yung tenga ko! Hahaha! Since we were trying to be as flat as possible (the manong will teach you how to do this), our face was facing one side while on the grass. There's nothing more that can be done with the ear that's exposed so when the Zorb rolled over, that was the only body part that was not as flat as it can be. Hence, the only body part that hurt (not too much...just a bit) when the Zorb rolled over. Or maybe the weight of the riders is also a factor...I don't really know! But still a must-try! Just so you know how it feels to be rolled over by an inflatable ball.Ü

Will I do this again? Definitely! How I wish it was only P100/ride, we would've zorbed ourselves over and over again! Next time, i'll definitely try that Harness Ride...I wonder how that would feel?Ü

So guys, while in Bora, make the most out of your trip and try riding the Zorb! It's definitely one fun ride!Ü TTFN

A shout out of THANKS to the following for allowing me to post the photos they took during our Zorb experience: Dexter Lao, Jennifer Cruz, and My de Jesus.Ü Thanks guys!


Post Script: After browsing & reading through the Zorb site, I now have reason to believe that the Ride the Zorb in Boracay is NOT a franchise of the one in New Zealand. The girl behind the counter told us otherwise (when I asked for a discount...LOL!). Tsk, tsk, tsk...

1 comment:

Onceler said...

Ha! Yeah there are a LOT of copy products out there claiming to be the original. Even the zorb company is now run by corporate fat cats and lawyers NOT the inventors.

The inventors have a NEW company where they still offer zorbing and ALSO a new product. Check it out: