Rochelle Ballard

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Rochelle Ballard
Personal information
Born 13-02-1971 (age 50)
Birth place Montebello, California
Surfing specifications

Rochelle Ballard is a professional female surfer who and veteran of the Association of Surfing Professional’s (ASP) World Championship Tour. She is considered the best female tube rider in the world and has been a pioneer to the advancement of women’s surfing in the past two decades. Ballard's mastery of big waves and support of women's surfing rank her among the surfing most elite. She also co-founded International Women's Surfing (IWS) and has appeared in several movies and television shows, most notably Step Into Liquid, Blue Crush, and Beyond the Break. In 2012 she won first in the Women's Division ISA World Masters Surfing Championship.

Biography and Highlights

Ballard was born Rochelle Gordines in Montebello, CA. on February 13, 1971.[1] Her parents moved to the island of Kauai in Hawaii when she was six months old. The waves in Kauai are considered as some of the best in world and with the encouragement of four-time World Champion and Kauai resident Margo Oberg, she started surfing at 12 years old. Oberg had been a top surfing professional for more than three decades and was a mentor to Rochelle when she was first learning to surf the massive and dangerous waves that seasonally come to Kauai’s north shore.

“I really admired her big wave surfing,” said Rochelle in Christina Lessa’s book Women Who Win. “She received so much respect for what she did. She took me out surfing quite a bit one year, spent time with me, gave me pointers, and encouraged me to brave larger waves. I developed a love for surfing, a love that is almost impossible to express. There’s an energy in the water that gives you every kind of feeling: peace, excitement, fear, a huge adrenaline rush, discouragement, frustration. The nature of surfing is such that you can’t control the waves. You have to flow with them and find the rhythm of the ocean in order to work with it and experience what the ocean has to offer. Surfing is an art—we draw a new line on each wave we ride. It’s also a science. You need to study the patterns of the ocean. And it’s an ongoing lesson, because every few years, the tides completely change.”

Rochelle began surfing local competitions and then advancing to state competitions, and then on to nationals, and then on to the world amateur titles where she placed fourth in the World in 1988 and 1990. Her successes qualified her to surf professionally on the World Championship Tour in 1991.

In 1991, the same year she went pro, she married cinematographer Bill Ballard. When she wasn’t competing she was appearing in and helping her husband to produce a long string of women’s only surf movies including the original Blue Crush.

Since then she has been featured on local and national news as well as magazines such as Surfing, TW Surf, Surfer, SG Magazine, Surfing Girl, Women Outside, Women's Sports and Fitness, Fit Magazine, Sports Illustrated Women, People, National Geographic as well as some international magazines. She received multiple awards over the years by the surfing community and in surfer magazine polls for best female performance, best tube ride, most influential women surfer and most popular women surfer.

Ballard served as a stunt double in Universal Pictures motion picture titled Blue Crush in 2002. She also starred in A Girls Surf Addiction, a surf film that O'Neill released in 2004. She also helped produce a "yoga for surfers" video series. In 2001 she starred in the surfing documentary 7 Girls. She co-founded International Women's Surfing (IWS) and, together with O'Neill, launched the successful Rochelle Ballard Surf Camp series which focuses on advanced surfing techniques, cross training and education.

Although Ballard never won a world title, she came close in 2002 winning second, she has been a top 10 finisher since 1994. Her passion for the ocean and fearlessness in huge waves has made her an icon of women’s surfing.

Ballard currently resides on North Shore, Oahu running operating a wellness retreat and retreat.[2]

Other Interests

Photography, journalism (she has been a contributing writer to many surf magazines) yoga, cooking and music.

Contest Highlights


Women's Division ISA World Masters Surfing Champion


3rd Rip Curl Pro, Malibu

2nd Billabong Pro, Teahupoo, Tahiti

2nd Roxy Pro, Fiji

2nd Roxy Pro, Australia


2nd Billabong Pro, Teahupoo, Tahiti

3rd Magnolia Girls Pro. Portugal

9th Roxy Pro, Australia

9th Roxy Pro, France


3rd Roxy Pro, Tavarua, Fiji

3rd Roxy Pro, France

7th Billabong Pro, Honolua


2nd Billabong Pro, Teahupoo, Tahiti

5th Roxy Surf Jam, Fiji

9th Billabong Pro, Maui, Hawaii


1st OP Boat Challenge


1st Gotcha Girl Star Pro, USA

1st Hossegor Rip Curl Pro, France


1st Billabong Pro, AUS

1st Kana Beach Lacanau Pro, France

1st Wahine Women's (WQS)

1st Gunston 500 Women WQS), South Africa

1st Wahine Women's (WQS), USA


1st Wahine Women's, USA

1st Town &Country, Hawaii

1995 1st Body Glove Surfbout VIII, USA

External links


See also