Kalani Ball – Locals Guide to the Illawarra Region

Published on 10/07/2023

Born-and-bred Illawarra pro surfer and dual Junior State Champ Kalani Ball has dished out his top tips for keeping cool and where to get some good food ahead of the Woolworths Junior State Titles presented by Ocean and Earth, occurring in Wollongong – home of the Dharawal people.

Why is Wollongong a great place to grow up as a surfer? “Wollongong is a great place to be a surfer, there’s a beach at every town from Stanwell Park to Wollongong itself. It offers reef breaks, point breaks and fun beachies around every corner.”

What’s your history with state titles? “I won a couple State Titles and made finals from the u14s- u18s but never had the chance to compete in Wollongong.”


Photo by Ethan Smith

What did you love about growing up in Wollongong? “I loved that it was uncrowded and I could just surf with my mates everyday. The surf community is really close and everyone looks out for each other.”

Where’s your favourite place for a feed around town? “There’s so many good places to eat in the Wollongong area but just ducking down the road to ‘Husk’ in Stanwell Park is always great and you run into someone you know every time. ‘The Ryan’s’ in Thirroul does great feeds and it’s great to catch up with mates there also.”

What’s your top tips for staying cool before a heat? “I just try to stay in the moment and listen to some music. I know I’ve done all the training and preparation by that point and now it’s time to go surf and have fun.”

Top tips for staying calm when you’re chasing a score in a heat? “Focus on your breathing. If you’ve done the preparation you can be confident in your surfing and if the right wave comes you’ll get the score.”

What other tips do you have for juniors coming from out of the area to compete at the Junior State Titles? “If you have the opportunity to surf all the different types of waves in the area, that will help you to improve your surfing a lot. And just have fun! It’s surfing, don’t take it too seriously.”

Check out this recent YouTube video presented by MySurfTV – “Rivals Season 3 Episode 9 – Kalani Ball” all about Kalani surfing at home!

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