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The original Waboba ball and the beach in Sweden where it was invented. Original Waboba Ball.jpg
The original Waboba ball and the beach in Sweden where it was invented.

Waboba is an international outdoor toy and sporting goods brand headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Guangzhou, China. Waboba is most known for its invention of balls that bounce on water, the high bouncing Moon ball, and the Wingman silicone flying disc. [1] The company specializes in beach and backyard toys and games. The slogan used in advertising is Keep Life Fun. The name Waboba is a registered trademark and many of its products are internationally patented.



Waboba is short for WAter BOuncing BAll, named after the company's first invention.


In Sweden in the early 1980s, inventor Jan Von Heland got the idea of creating something that skips on water after throwing a Frisbee upside down and noticing it skims the surface of water much like skipping a rock. Over the years, he began to test different shapes, materials, and compositions until he discovered in 2002 that a ball could bounce more efficiently than other balls on water if it was soft and had a Lycra covering which enables easy flow separation at the hydrodynamic stagnation point. [2] In 2004, Jan created the commercial concept for balls that bounce on water, and eventually patented what has become the Waboba Ball. [3]

The ball is made of different types of polyurethane covered in Lycra, allowing it to bounce on water and float. [2] Its patented design and durability gives Waboba its quality. To bounce the ball on the water, one must throw like skipping a rock. The ball bounces high on the water in between players when thrown at the right angle (overhand) with the right force. The ball does not bounce on land. [2]

To date, there are 10 different types of Waboba balls (Pro, Extreme, Surf, Blast, Zoobers, Big Kahuna, Tides, Sol, Zag, and Fetch for dogs). [4]

On April 1, 2016 Waboba was featured on The History Channels' Million Dollar Genius for Jan von Heland's invention of the ball that bounces on water. (Season 1, Episode 7 "Bigger is Better") [5]

Geographical spread

The Waboba Water Bouncing Ball was first introduced in Sweden in 2005, where it was sold for two years before it was introduced to new markets in Europe, United States, and Australia in the summer of 2007. As of 2019, Waboba products are distributed in over 75 countries. [6]


Water Bouncing Balls

Water accessories

Land items



An elastic ball that bounces on water, the Waboba water ball flattens like a pancake when it hits the water surface, increasing its lift and propelling it upward. When it hits the water at a shallow angle, it too creates a bowl-shaped depression. But because it is soft, the ball flattens into a disc-shape when it hits the surface and this allows it to aquaplane efficiently across the surface. And the angle of the bowl-shaped depression causes it to launch into the air where the ball regains its shape, making it look as if it has bounced. The process is remarkably similar to the way stones skip across water, even though they are denser than the liquid. A shallow impact with the water surface creates a bowl-shaped depression that launches the stone into the air as it leaves. [13]

Researchers with the U.S. Navy's University Laboratory Initiative have been studying the mechanics and elasticity of the Waboba balls. The military branch is interested in how elasticity affects motion in water. [14]

All balls can bounce on water when thrown at a shallow angle with sufficient speed to hydroplane.

This was the principle employed by WW2-period British inventor Barnes Wallace when he developed the "bouncing bomb" used in the famous "Dam Busters" raid against the Ruhr District dams. [15] He had been inspired by the story of a technique historically used by the British navy that bounced spherical cannon balls off the ocean surface to achieve accurate hits against enemy ships. Wallace worked out the physics by bouncing marbles, steel spheres, and various sizes and shapes of balls across a pond and then a long trough before progressing to larger-scale experiments. Even solid steel balls would bounce across water. [16] Ordinary tennis balls or any other plastic balls can skip on water if thrown at a low angle at a fast speed. [17] [18]

Related Research Articles

Table tennis Racket sport

Table tennis, also known as ping-pong and whiff-whaff, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball, also known as the ping-pong ball, back and forth across a table using small solid rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce once on their side of the table and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage.

Silly Putty Toy putty (slime)

Silly Putty is a toy based on silicone polymers that have unusual physical properties. It bounces, but it breaks when given a sharp blow, and it can also flow like a liquid. It contains a viscoelastic liquid silicone, a type of non-Newtonian fluid, which makes it act as a viscous liquid over a long time period but as an elastic solid over a short time period. It was originally created during research into potential rubber substitutes for use by the United States in World War II.

Wham-O American toy company

Wham-O Inc. is an American toy company based in Carson, California, United States. It is known for creating and marketing many popular toys for nearly 70 years, including the Hula hoop, Frisbee, Slip 'N Slide, Super Ball, Trac-Ball, Silly String, Hacky sack, Wham-O Bird Ornithopter and Boogie Board, many of which have become genericized trademarks.

Stone skipping Distinct activity

Stone skipping and stone skimming are considered related but distinct activities: both refer to the art of throwing a flat stone across the water in such a way that it bounces off the surface. The objective of "skipping" is to see how many times a stone can bounce before it sinks into the water; the objective of "skimming" is to see how far a bouncing stone can travel across the water before it sinks into the water. In Japan, the practice is referred to as Mizu Kiri, which loosely translates to "water cutting." In Mizu Kiri contests, both skimming and skipping principles, as well as a throw's overall aesthetic quality, are taken into account to determine the winners.

Ricochet Rebound of a projectile off a surface

A ricochet is a rebound, bounce, or skip off a surface, particularly in the case of a projectile. Most ricochets are caused by accident and while the force of the deflection decelerates the projectile, it can still be energetic and almost as dangerous as before the deflection. The possibility of ricochet is one of the reasons for the common firearms safety rule "Never shoot at a flat, hard surface." Ricochets can occur with any caliber, and short or round ricocheting bullets may not produce the audible whine caused by tumbling irregular shapes. Ricochets are a hazard of shooting because, for as long as they retain sufficient velocity, ricocheting bullets or bullet fragments may cause collateral damage to animals, objects, or even the person who fired the shot.

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Space hopper Type of Ball

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Beach ball

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Bounce or The Bounce may refer to:

Super Ball Bouncy ball made by Wham-O

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The physics of a bouncing ball concerns the physical behaviour of bouncing balls, particularly its motion before, during, and after impact against the surface of another body. Several aspects of a bouncing ball's behaviour serve as an introduction to mechanics in high school or undergraduate level physics courses. However, the exact modelling of the behaviour is complex and of interest in sports engineering.


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