ON THE BLOB: AN INTRODUCTION TO BLOBBING
Last updated: 22/07/2019
For decades, superyacht owners and guests have been taking advantage of the growing industry of yacht toys and inflatables. The top deck of a superyacht makes for a great finish line on a climbing wall, or a platform from which to jump down a 30ft slide. These kinds of attractions can be found on numerous charter yachts, where inflatables and water toys are highly requested, and even on many private yachts for owner, guest and family use.
But aside from sliding, climbing, and rolling, there’s a craze hitting yachts around the world by storm... and it's got a fantastically silly name: blobbing.
What is blobbing?!
Blobbing is an outdoor water activity, where a participant sits on the end of a partially inflated platform (this is what’s known as the ‘blob’) and is launched up into the air to land in the sea, when another participant jumps onto the other end of the platform from the opposite side.
The activity has been popular at summer camps in America, and is quickly spreading amongst the yachting world, as a large vessel in the ocean is the perfect setting for blobbing and makes for an incredibly thrilling leisure activity.
It’s an incredibly simple idea and relatively low-cost when compared to more complex inflatable toys, considering the fun that can be had with it.
A brief history of blobbing
Blobbing began with gas- and oil-filled rubber bags, which were used to transport fuel to overseas operations by seamen. Adventurous—and perhaps, bored—sailors jumped off the carriers onto the ‘blobs’ and discovered the ‘blob effect’.
Since then, popularity of the concept has grown, with manufacturers jumping in to produce professional, industry-grade ‘blobs’ designed purely for the purpose of flinging someone into the air when another person jumps on the opposite end. Its appeal has mainly grown within America, but it is beginning to spread around the globe, with the activity gaining more and more popularity globally.
Is there a competitive aspect to blobbing?
Absolutely! In fact, Blob Europe (the general agent of the original brand of Blobs in Europe) is pushing the competitive side of blobbing, with the official blobbing championship being held in Austria since 2011, and Germany since 2013.
Turning blobbing into a sport is a great way to satisfy the more competitive amongst us, with teams of two jumpers and one ‘blobber’ competing to get the judges’ best scores. There are even rule sets for professional competition, which all official tournaments are run with.
Purchasing, storing and setting up the Blob
Official Blobs can be purchased either directly or through an official reseller local to you. Various pricing options are available dependant on model, and you can also have your Blob’s surface branded directly; perfect for charter yachts that have strong branding on board.
The official Blob is stored away easily and in a small package; with the most popular model, the Allround Blob, coming in at only 70cm packaged height and width, with 40cm depth, making it the perfect inflatable for yachts of all sizes. When inflated, the Allround model expands to 6m x 2.5m for use. Other larger models are also available for seasoned veterans, including a Sports model that’s 10m x 4m and takes two jumpers.
Setting up the Blob is also extremely straightforward; it involves unrolling the Blob, inflating with a pump for 6-10 minutes, pushing it into place on the water, securing to the yacht with rope and weights through its anchorage points, and you’re pretty much set (though don’t forget to read the actual handbook before you get involved; safety first!).
"The blob is a guaranteed hit with all our clients and guests"
Mark Peak, from leading yacht toy specialists Superyacht Tenders & Toys, spoke to us regarding the company's experience working with and providing Blobs across the superyacht sector. He told us, "The popularity of the BLOB, or similarly known ‘Launcher’, has been steadily increasing over recent years. It is proving great to watch, participate, and afford.
"Fundamental to your blobbing experience is the design of the product. A BLOB is not as simple as you may first think. Whist any yacht is on anchor with a breeze and seaway rolling past, even the lightest of conditions will cause havoc to an unsupported BLOB as it will begin to buckle in half.
"As design and technology evolve we are seeing an emergence of products with supporting outriggers. The BigAir Yacht Blob, manufactured by Funair, is a prime example and leading the way. The outriggers not only support the BigAir Yacht Blob when inflated but channel the air shockwave along the blob rather than out in all directions. This provides incredible results.
"Here at SYTT we have had many custom blobs in build including custom sizes, colours and logos - the largest being 12m x 5m with the user planning to jump from the 5th deck! No matter the size, every blob presents a risk. We always strongly recommend that everyone participating in this highly entertaining activity wears suitable protective equipment such as impact vests and helmets.
"The blob is a guaranteed hit with all our clients and guests are always coming back for more – bigger and better!"
Don’t get caught out by counterfeits
There are, as there are in many other industries, knock-off products available that imitate BLOB’s official product. These are often cheaply produced, mass-produced products that are simply not up to standard. Whilst blobbing can be considered relatively safe compared to other adrenalin-fuelled activities, you do not want to place trust in a poorly constructed product of this type.
BLOB Europe is happy to provide support and advice on how to purchase a genuine Blob, and address any concerns you have about potential counterfeits.
Having a toy refresh? Consider a BLOB for your next season!
There’s something very appealing about the unrestricted, simple nature of blobbing; jump down and fling your friend up into the air. It’s invigorating for participants, hilarious and exciting for spectators, and it doesn’t require the complex equipment or training that other inflatables or toys require. It might just take some nerve to have a go for the first time!