Get bubble wrapped

Get bubble wrapped
Participants cocooned within giant bubbles bump, shove and crash into one another during a game.

SINGAPORE - A group of men and women charge towards one another on a futsal court, battling to gain possession of a ball and kick it into the opposing team's goal area.

Sounds simple enough? Not really.

The players have to do it with their upper bodies cocooned within giant plastic bubbles or inflatable zorb balls.

Inevitably, players will bump into one another and some will end up falling to the ground and struggling to get up.

Yes, bumping, shoving and colliding are all part of the fun - and completely legal - in bubble football, which has caught on in Singapore, with at least four businesses offering the entertaining game.

Originating from Norway three years ago, bubble football quickly gained a following in other European countries as well as in Australia, North America and Asia.

There are even bubble football tournaments in some countries such as the United States, which may soon be a reality here too.

Bubble Football Singapore, which opened in August, has plans to start a Bubble Football League in Singapore, says a company spokesman.

Bookings have more than doubled in October, compared to just a month ago, he says.

The Wow Experience, which introduced the sport early last year, says demand has doubled, with 12 to 18 bookings a month for bubble games, says director Joshua Tay, 35.

For those who do not fancy frantically trying to kick a ball, the companies offer other bubble games based on classic childhood ones such as catching, as well as dog and bone.

There is also bubble bowling, where one person, encased in a zorb, attempts to knock down "pins", which are members of the opposing team.

These games are not just played between friends, companies and school groups are also using them for team bonding. Parents can also enjoy the game with their kids.

At Bubble Bump Singapore, the game, Bubble Bump Invasion, is the preferred choice based on customers' reviews, says its 24-year-old director Natasha Toh.

Two teams of five people defend their zones and try to attack opponents and gain control of their zone, resulting in plenty of comical collisions.

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