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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||bungee, elite, heated, highly-caffeinated, hydro-zorbing, momentous, zorb, zorbing, zorbonaut, zorbonauts, manufacturers, ranks, representative, surreal, opening, version
||Andrew Akers, New Zealand, New Zealanders, In November, Keith Kolver, Another New Zealander, Steve Camp, Guinness Book, World Records, Bubble Boy
By Colleen Messina
1 Many sports use balls of all shapes and sizes. Athletes try to become "one with the ball" so that they can catch it, roll it, or hit it well. But the strangest ball sport of all is without a doubt the amazing activity called zorbing. The bizarre sport of zorbing means that the athlete is more than "one with the ball"...in fact, he or she is inside of it!
2 A zorb might sound like a visiting alien from some faraway galaxy, but it is actually a transparent sphere made out of PVC. One thing a zorb does provide, though, is an experience that is out of this world. The first zorb was invented by Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis in New Zealand. New Zealanders invent creative, wild sports. They also invented bungee jumping. Andrew and Dwane were inspired by a ball on a television commercial with people inside. When the people got out of the ball, it deflated. Andrew and Dwane felt deflated when they saw the ball losing air, so they added a new twist to the idea. They invented a ball that had two skins...and the zorb was born.
3 A zorb is about 10.5 feet in diameter. The zorb weighs almost 200 pounds without a person in it. The outer chamber has air in it and is connected to the inner chamber by a series of wires. The inner chamber has an opening to the outside so that the zorbonaut can breathe fresh air all the time. The zorbonaut is strapped inside with a harness (and maybe with a good luck charm in his pocket). Then, he or she rolls and rolls and rolls down a grassy hill. The zorb can reach speeds over 25 mph. The rider then joins the elite ranks of a group that does sound like it belongs in a sci-fi flick. He or she is then an official zorbonaut.
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