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Waboba (Swedish: Waboba) is short for water bouncing ball, deriving the two first letters in each word into what is both the company as well as the product name. Waboba is also the name of the ballgame that is played in knee- to waist high water, using the Waboba ball. The ball composition is different types of Polyurethane, covered in Lycra, allowing it to bounce and float. The ball is about the same density as water and floats when at rest, but bounces high when thrown. The ball is made to endure some rough handling, but not for bouncing on the ground or against walls. Its build-up gives the ball the same characteristics in water as a rubber ball carries on land. The 2008 edition "extreme ball" has a size of 55 mm and weight of 82 grams. There are other variations of the ball which are larger ("Professional Ball") and lighter ("Blast ball"). The name Waboba is a registered trade mark and the ball is internationally patented.
The idea of the ball originates from the early 1980s when inventor, Swede Jan von Heland, was throwing a Frisbee upside down on the water, trying to get it to bounce. He thought it would be good to have something that used the water to bounce off and began to experiment. From coming up with the idea, he began prolonged experimentation with materials and composition, and eventually patented what has become the Waboba Ball. The ball took several years to perfect, but it is now being sold around the world after first taking off on the beaches of Sweden and Australia.
The Waboba was first introduced in Sweden where it was sold for a two years before it was introduced to new markets in Europe in the summer of 2007 as well as the United States (2008), Canada (2008), South Africa (2008) and Australia (2007). During the fall of 2008 and spring 2009, the ball was introduced in Brazil, China, Singapore, Kuwait and Dubai. Introduction in Europe covered in 2008 Germany, UK, Portugal, Scandinavia and continued in 2009 with France, Spain, Cyprus and several Eastern Europe countries. The Waboba ball had in summer 2013 been introduced in all European countries.
The idea of the game is to pass between team members, minimum two players in each team, without losing the ball to the other team. When all team members have caught the ball at least once, without interruption and with at least one bounce on water in each pass, the team gets one point (one round). The opposing team shall try to interrupt passes and start passing within their team. The first team to win three rounds wins the match. Participants have to pass the ball within 5 seconds after receiving it. It is allowed to tackle opponents, but not the player that has the ball, and participants are further not allowed to hold an opponent. Otherwise, as a less serious and more playful option, it can be played between 4+ people, separated into two teams. With four people, 2 would be on one side and 2 on the other, each side having one person from one team and the other person from the other team. Each side gets turns to throw the ball to their team member on the other side. If the member catches the ball, they win 5 points. If they miss, they lose 3 points. At the beginning of the game, a limit can be set (usually a limit of 100 points) and the first team to reach it wins. The distance between the sides can be adjusted, but is normally started at 2 meters apart and expanding as the game goes on.
Pro Waboba Described as a cross between ultimate frisbee and water polo, the game is played with Waboba’s Pro ball. Teams are 4v4. The object of the game is to bounce the Waboba Pro ball on the water in order to pass to team members and score points by bouncing the ball into a goal.
The ball has been modified for every generation, increasing its bouncing and floating capabilities. The first ball was bright yellow and clearly less "bouncy" than the gray/orange extreme version that was introduced 2008. The Pro version originates from the extreme version, but is larger and heavier. The Pro is more demanding as it is heavier, but it is also more accurate in bounces, which makes it perfect for game play. The "Blast" ball, which is designed for families and pool play, is made of gel and gel foam which makes it more lightweight and thus more of a toy in comparison with the sport versions extreme and pro. Waboba launched the "surf" ball 2011. The "surf" has the same feel as the first ball made but has a new special soft gel that makes it easier to catch and easier to bounce than the sport balls. As it stays lower on surface it is also good for match games in larger pools. Waboba has in 2009 and 2010 released several gloves, a designed microfiber towel and other accessories.