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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 companies 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 canon 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

Silly Putty American toy

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.

Stone skipping game of skill

Stone skipping and stone skimming are considered related but distinct activities. Both refer to the art of throwing a flat stone across 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 sinking; the objective of "skimming" is see how far a bouncing stone can be made to travel before it sinks. In Japan, the activity is called "Mizu Kiri," which translates loosely as "water cutting." Mizu Kiri contests encompass both skimming and skipping principles, as well as a throw's overall aesthetic quality to determine winners.

Ricochet bounce of a projectile on 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.

Pace bowling Bowling technique in cricket

Pace bowling is one of two main approaches to bowling in the sport of cricket, the other being spin bowling. Practitioners of pace bowling are usually known as fast bowlers, quicks, or pacemen. They can also be referred to as a seam bowler, a swing bowler or a fast bowler who can swing it to reflect the predominant characteristic of their deliveries. Strictly speaking, a pure swing bowler does not need to have a high degree of pace, though dedicated medium-pace swing bowlers are rarely seen at Test level these days.

Space hopper Type of Ball

A space hopper is a rubber ball with handles which allow one to sit on it without falling off. The user can hop around on the toy, using the elastic properties of the ball to move forward.

Super Ball Bouncy ball made by Wham-O

A Super Ball is a toy bouncy ball based on a type of synthetic rubber invented in 1964 by chemist Norman Stingley. It is an extremely elastic ball made of Zectron which contains the synthetic polymer polybutadiene as well as hydrated silica, zinc oxide, stearic acid, and other ingredients. This compound is vulcanized with sulfur at a temperature of 165 °C (329 °F) and formed at a pressure of 3,500 psi (24 MPa). The resulting Super Ball has a very high coefficient of restitution, and if dropped from shoulder level on a hard surface, a Super Ball bounces nearly all the way back; thrown down by an average adult, it can fly over a three-story building.

Juggling practice has developed a wide range of patterns and forms which involve different types of manipulation, different props, numbers of props, and numbers of jugglers. The forms of juggling shown here are practiced by amateur, non-performing, hobby jugglers as well as by professional jugglers. The variations of juggling shown here are extensive but not exhaustive as juggling practice develops and creates new patterns on a regular basis. Jugglers do not consciously isolate their juggling into one of the categories shown; instead most jugglers will practice two or more forms, combining the varieties of juggling practice. Some forms are commonly mixed, for example: numbers and patterns with balls; while others are rarely mixed, for example: contact numbers passing. Many Western jugglers also practice other forms of object manipulation, such as diabolo, devil sticks, cigar box manipulation, fire-spinning, contact juggling, hat manipulation, poi, staff-spinning, balancing tricks, bar flair and general circus skills.

Juggling world records comprise the best performances in the fields of endurance and numbers juggling.

A bouncy ball or rubber ball is a spherical toy ball, usually fairly small, made of elastic material which allows it to bounce against hard surfaces. When thrown against a hard surface, bouncy balls retain their momentum and much of their kinetic energy. They can thus rebound with an appreciable fraction of their original force.

Tribometer An instrument that measures tribological quantities

A tribometer is an instrument that measures tribological quantities, such as coefficient of friction, friction force, and wear volume, between two surfaces in contact. It was invented by the 18th century Dutch scientist Musschenbroek


In ball sports, topspin is a property of a ball that rotates forwards as it is moving. Topspin on a ball propelled through the air imparts a downward force that causes the ball to drop, due to its interaction with the air. Topspin is the opposite of backspin.

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Bat-and-ball games are field games played by two opposing teams, in which the action starts when the defending team throws a ball at a dedicated player of the attacking team, who tries to hit it with a bat. The best known modern bat-and-ball games are baseball and cricket, with common roots in the 18th-century games played in England.

Juggling ball

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Waterballs water toy

Waterballs are water toys that are played on the water surface with players interacting with the water toy and the water in any number of play patterns. Generally players throw waterballs at varying speeds across the water and air at varying angles to get the desired skip pattern. Play is generally between players and play patterns can involve a variety of apparatus and equipment, such as special pools with goals and watercourts.

Handball (school) game played in schools in Australia and New Zealand

School students in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and South East Asia often play a style of handball, also known as four square, or n-square, that differs from most other types of handball. The game is most frequently played at recess, lunchtime, or before and after school. It can also be played at home or anywhere that has a hard surface and at least one line. The quick set-up time, and the simple rules, contribute to the game's popularity.

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