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The Big Balls is an obstacle, first featured in Season 1 as the third obstacle in the Qualifier. It is one of the most iconic Wipeout obstacles and it quickly staple of the show, being featured in every episode to date, including all the international versions and the TBS revival.

It consists four large red balls filled with air. Contestants must attempt to run across these balls without falling into the water below.

Design and Changes[]

There have been a few design changes to the Big Balls over the shows history. In season 1, the Big Balls were held by a large metal frame with padding on the sides. This caused some contestants to go through the bottom of the Big Balls, or hit their head on the padding of the metal frame. In some episodes of season 2, the Big Balls featured a casing that better protected the metal frame, hiding it completely from view. By season 3, the iconic look had been established, with a large red ball encased on top of a blue pedestal. The height of each pedestals can differ, depending on the episode.

There have also been four special cosmetic changes to the Big Balls. In season 2’s episode “Wipeout Bowl 1: Cheerleaders Vs. Couch Potatoes”, which was a special for the Super Bowl, the Big Balls featured a design similar to a football helmet. In season 3, the episode “World Cup” featured a soccer ball design to promote the FIFA World Cup 2010 on ABC, and the episode “America’s Finest” featured the Big Balls colored in red, white and blue for a patriotic motif. In season 5’s episode “Winter Wipeout: Deck the Balls”, the Big Balls were colored blue, green, yellow, and red to resemble Christmas ornaments.

There have also been a few changes to make the Big Balls even harder. In some episodes of season 3, the Big Balls moved up and down while contestants try to navigate across. Additionally, the Motivator, introduced in season 2, pushed contestants forward who hesitated or waited too long on the platform. See its page for variations of the Motivator.

Lastly, starting in season 5, a small version of Ballsy, fittingly named Smallsy, was introduced. Smallsy sits on the fourth ball, and contestants who knock Smallsy off receive a $500 reward. His theming also changes per episode, including Disco Smallsy, Superhero Smallsy, Doctor Smallsy, and many more.

Big Ball Bonanza[]

Starting in season 5, episodes with contestant duos (Blind Date, Family and Boss vs. Employees episodes in season 7) featured a new round called the “Big Ball Bonanza”, for an additional $5,000 cash prize. Each of the six remaining teams will choose one of its members to run across the Big Balls. The teammate that makes it the farthest of the six before hitting the water will win the additional cash prize. Their distance is recorded once their forward momentum on the Big Balls stops. In the event of a tie, the other teammate must run the Big Balls and set a new distance for their team. No teams are eliminated in this round.

Other Obstacle Appearances[]

The Big Balls have also appeared in other obstacles throughout the course in various seasons.

  • One of the three exits to the Overdrive is a green, rotating Big Ball.
  • Spring Wipeout’s Qualifier obstacle Spring Fling featured a green Big Ball.
  • In season 5’s Winter Wipeout, round three’s Cold Hearted Snake featured the “Shivering Timbers”, where contestants must cross a set of rotating planks and jump onto a white Big Ball before jumping to the finish platform.
  • One of the Motivators in Season 4 were two rotating Big Balls, called the “Ball Tapper”.
  • In season 5’s Summer Wipeout, round two’s Hangover featured the “Brawl Wall”: a sweeper arm spinning with the four red balls on them.
  • Season 5’s qualifier obstacle Snakes on a Plain featured four smaller balls decorated as moles.
  • In the TBS revival of Wipeout, The Gauntlet featured the “Pummel Pool” as the final part of the course, where contestants started and ended the section by jumping on a large pink ball.
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Ariel uses her seal hop technique to cross all four balls.

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Eric Agrelius doesn't make the platform.

Trivia[]

  • The average amount of Big Balls touched is 2.5 balls. 75.55% touch only one ball, 62.09% make it to the second, 9.27% makes it to the third, and only 4.93% cross all four balls.
  • Ben Kronberg was the first contestant to cross the Big Balls twice. (Once in 1x05, again in 2x11)
  • Sometimes, Wipeout's producers need to let some air out of the balls, due to the heat that expands the balls and makes them hard.
  • The Big Balls are such a big part of the show, it's even in John Henson's sign-off: "Goodnight, and big balls."
  • The Wipey for best Big Ball Wipeout went to Chris Lekawa. Runners-ups were Chris Kinyon, Gwenisha Robinson, Gayla Johnson and Christa Wiktorski.
  • The Wipey for best Romance went to Ben Kronberg, with his love for the Big Balls and the Ball Swing.
  • The Wipey for best Wipeout went to Jacob Mann, and his wipeout on the Big Balls.
  • As promotion for the TBS revival of Wipeout, large inflatable Big Balls were brought to small tourist attractions across America. These balls were much larger than the ones actually in the show, being 25 feet tall and 70 feet long.
  • The Big Balls are one of the only remaining obstacles not to be controlled mechanically (excluding season 3).

Gallery[]

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