Nov, 23, 2021
Although these bubble balls may look like a new creation, but in fact, they've been around on the commercial market for more than two decades. Today, zorbing ball has become a popular sport in many countries around the world.
The first human-sized inflated ball as we know them today was invented in 1975 by French architect Gilles Ebersolt. Ebersolt, who was just a teenager when he came up with the idea, he created a ball and he called it "Ballule" ("Bubble" in French). The Ballule used inverted vacuum cleaners for pressurization, but in other respects it is basically the same as a modern zorbing ball.
Ebersolt's Ballule was registered with the Conseil de Prud'hommes, and was shown on television internationally in the 1970's and 1980's, but he never made his invention into a commercial products.
Jackie Chan found himself inside an inflated ball in the 1991 film Operation Condor, and Jackie Chan rolls down the side of a mountain in a death-defying stunt. It's unknown whether Chan used one of Ebersolt's Ballules or if his special effects team created one ...
Even though this movie is wonderful, don't try it because it may make you get serious injury.
In the early 1990's, the TV show American Gladiators used human hamster balls in a game they called "Atlasphere." Contestants would roll their spheres into scoring areas while "gladiators" worked to keep them out of those zones in an epic game of bumper ball. But these are not exactly the same as Ballule, they had hard, rigid frames, which is more like a cage than a bubble.
The "Zorb Ball" name comes from Andrew Akers and Dwayne van der Sluis of Rotorua, New Zealand, who founded the company Zorb Limited in 1994. The Zorb company created the world's first commercial human hamster ball and the first park for zorbing.
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