Kim Ball is the Lahaina News’ ‘Sportsman of the Year’
LAHAINA — All those who were asked to comment on Kim Ball being named the Lahaina News’ “Sportsman of the Year” for 2009 agreed that this is a man who selflessly contributes to the betterment of the Maui community at large and richly deserves the honor.
At the heart of the matter, Ball has for 25 years served as a stalwart leader of the Kumulani Chapel Christian group. Throughout those years, he has served as a Sunday School teacher, Junior High Bible Study leader, Surf Bible Study leader and supporter of all of the group’s activities.
“Kim has always been there to serve Kumulani Chapel, especially for the children and teenagers,” said Rondilyn Franz, the children’s ministry leader of the organization.
And in the various other avenues in which Ball contributes to the community, prayer and devotion are always an overriding factor.
Perhaps the truest gauge of the integrity of a man or a woman is manifested in their children. The upstanding character of the “Three Amigos,” Bailey, Cody and Blake, the sons of Kim Ball and Glorine Loper, reflect the rich parenting and dedication of the two.
Bailey is currently at the United States Air Force Academy, Cody is a freshman at Southern Oregon University, and Blake is a Lahainaluna High School senior honor student, class president and outstanding athlete.
On the professional side of the ledger, Kim is a pioneer of the surf sports industry here on Maui, including windsurfing, surfing, paddling and snowboarding. Today, his Hi-Tech and Shapers stores represent the largest selection of boards on the island — including surfboards, stand up paddle boards, windsurfing boards, skateboards and snowboards, as well as clothing, surf wear and protective gear.
Ball helped promote Maui to mecca status in windsurfing when, in 1985, he organized Maui’s first contest for board sailing, at that time known as the Kanaha Wind Slalom.
Today, the world-renowned event, called the Maui Race Series, annually brings hundreds of windsurfers, who spend thousands of dollars visiting and promoting the Valley Isle.
Ball organizes several surf meets each year, including Pohai Na Keiki Surf Contest (Gathering of the Surf Kids.), Ole Longboard Classic (in honor of all the “old guys that rule,” and most especially world-renowned surfboard shaper Bob “Ole” Olson, now 80 years old), Hi-Tech/Lopez Surfbash, and the Maui Scholastic Surf Championships.
This fourth effort, the Maui Scholastic Surf Championships, represents the core of Kim’s dedication to “malama pono” — to nurture that which is right and good for the people — as he has fought long and hard to bring high school surfing to the same level as all sports.
He has lobbied for some five years to the state athletic commission on behalf of students and parents who want surfing to be recognized and sanctioned as an official sport activity at the high school level.
Coach Kim has also been instrumental in developing amateur wrestling on Maui. In helping found Maui Style Wrestling, and taking part in rejuvenating the Lahainaluna wrestling program as a coach there, he has been a driving force in bringing Lunas wrestling — annually one of the top teams in the state — and the Napili Surfriders for younger kids, to elite levels for hundreds of children.
“It is simply incredible what Kim has done for wrestling and for the community as a whole,” said Lunas wrestling coach and Lahaina Intermediate School counselor Todd Hayase.
“He was honored some years ago by The Maui News as one of their ‘People That Made a Difference,’ and he certainly deserves this recognition from the Lahaina News. Lahainaluna wrestling is fortunate to have him, as well as his brother, Lindsay, and wife, Momi, to run all of the Maui Style Wrestling meets.”
T S Restaurants — once again a primary contributor to the Lahaina News’ Sportsman of the Year award — Vice President Dickie Moon concurred in saying, “Kim does so much for the community, and we are honored to be able to recognize him for all he does for the youth of Maui. He is a terrific example of doing the right things for the Maui community at large, and especially for the kids here. We are indeed pleased to have Kim as our guest to enjoy a dining experience at Kimo’s, Leilani’s, Hula Grill and at our recently opened Duke’s Beachhouse at Honua Kai.”