Ballard’s Secret To Better Surfing
For 17 years, Rochelle Ballard was one of the top big-wave riders on the women’s professional surfing tour. She was a master at tube riding and helped lay the foundation for women’s professional surfing for the future.
Her accomplishments in the ocean led to opportunities on the big screen, where she had several appearances in movies and television programs. Perhaps her biggest role was as a stunt double for Kate Bosworth in the hit movie Blue Crush.
Then, in 2007, after a long and brilliant career, Ballard retired from professional surfing at the top of her game at age 37.
“When you retire, you believe at the very least you’re halfway prepared, but when it happens, you realize you’re actually not, especially after a long career,” says Ballard. “After my professional career ended, I found that I was inspired by wellness and yoga, and it was the perfect fit for me.”
Although she is no longer on the professional tour, Ballard still surfs at a high level and competes in select events.
When she’s not surfing, she’s physically and spiritually strengthening her body by practicing and teaching yoga.
“I’ m a yoga teacher and a licensed massage therapist on Kauai’s south shore,” says Ballard, who moved back to the Garden Island in 2012 after selling her home on Oahu’s North Shore. “I also host adventure retreats for people around the world. People love the experiences, but Kauai does all the work for me.”
The former professional surfer turned yoga guru recently hosted a Roxy women-only fitness event at Turtle Bay Resort. More than 500 women and girls took part in the 5K run, SUP paddle course and yoga session.
“It was a great event and we had an incredible turnout on the North Shore,” says Ballard, who started practicing yoga at the age of 19.
The one-day outdoor fitness event is one of many that Roxy produces around the world, including in Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany, and Sydney, Australia. Other venues will be announced through the rest of the year.
The event is aimed at participation and only costs $5 per category to enter. All entrants received a Roxy cinch tote, yoga towel and trucker cap.
Hawaii was the second stop of Roxy’s global outdoor fitness tour. The closing yoga class provided women the opportunity to stretch out from the day’s activities, guided by Ballard and set against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
“Everyone had a lot of fun, and we couldn’t ask for a better day out at Turtle Bay,” says Ballard. “We had women smiling all day long.”
And she understands why the women were smiling. Ballard firmly believes that yoga has provided her life with better balance and strength, and she enjoys sharing that gift with others.
“Yoga can help you make better choices by cleaning up your health and even your diet,” says Ballard. “I enjoy providing a service for people who want to learn and have a better life. I think it really is compatible for watermen and water-women.”
It was a valuable lesson that she learned as a 19-year-old teenager on Kauai and one that contributed to her longevity on the professional surfing tour.
And now she willingly shares that secret with the rest of the world.
“Yoga really strengthens the secondary muscles in our body and allows our nervous system to respond and heal,” says 44-year-old Ballard. “A lot of people say, ‘I feel old because my body hurts,’ but if your body doesn’t hurt, you won’t feel old.”
She’s living proof of it.