Layne Beachley AO may be widely regarded as Australia’s golden girl of surfing, but there’s much, much more you can attribute to this extraordinary woman.
It is understandable that Layne’s legacy lies with her surfing, after all she’s the only surfer, male or female, to claim six consecutive world titles between 1998 and 2003, which she also topped off by winning a seventh title in 2006 and in that same year, becoming inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame.
But whilst she may have retired from professional surfing in 2008, what the 50-year-old has managed to accomplish in the past 15 years can’t really be classified as ‘retirement’.
So what does the surfing legend do now? The list is long, very long. Layne is a motivational speaker, trainer, facilitator, philanthropist, author, founder, director and most importantly: passionate about giving back.
Speaking to The Weekly about her life post-competitive surfing, Layne explained why she always felt the need to help others, saying that it all began back at the very start of her surfing career, when she herself experienced “injustice, unfairness, or dissatisfaction.”
“That’s really what inspired me when I joined the tour, to leave women surfing in a better place than when I found it, which was nineteen years later.”
Layne was recognised for doing just that at the 2015 Australia Day Honours, when she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community through support for a range of charitable organisations, as a mentor for women in sport, and to surfing as a world champion competitor.
And to add to the long list of endeavours that keep Layne busy, she is also working with life, health and wellbeing specialists AIA as an ambassador for their AIA Vitality program, which sees her own passion for helping others line up with the initiative that encourages positive lifestyle change.
Speaking on how she uses some on the teachings in the program in her own life, Layne said, “One of the things that I love about their messaging is the ‘all or something’ mentality. And I think as an athlete I had this ‘all or nothing’ mentality, which means I operated or pursued my dreams and my goals from an at-all-cost mentality.
“And as I became older and wiser, and I love how this message is reinforced through the AIA vitality program, is that if you understand the little things that bring you that sense of joy and satisfaction and re-centre you and re-boost you, then you prioritize the time for those things.”
So what’s next for Layne? As you would expect, helping others is still top of mind.
“Just keep lending my name and my voice to particular causes that I know can be impacted and influenced by the use of my passion and enthusiasm for making a difference.”