Layne Beachley — surfing and serving

Layne Beachley is the most successful female surfer of all time and seven-time world champion. In fact, she is actually an (unofficial) eight-time world champion, because having retired from professional surfing in 2008 she returned to the water in September 2018 to become the first female winner of the World Surf League’s (WSL) World Masters Championship. Although surfing sits at the heart of her life, there is so much more to the Beachley manifesto. Never one to opt for a quiet life, Beachley has been involved as an ambassador, spokesperson and volunteer for many charities and organisations, including UNICEF, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Planet Ark, Club Speranza, Surfrider Foundation and WWF Australia. In 2003 Beachley created the Aim for the Stars Foundation to support the cultural dreams of young women across Australia. The Foundation wound up in 2019, but now she has developed the aptly named Awake Academy, aimed at assisting people to achieve their dreams. So far-reaching has Beachley’s positive influence been that in 2015 she was awarded with an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the community. Now happily married to Kirk Pengilly from rock band INXS, the life of Layne Beachley has been rich and diverse, but it has not been easy.

Catching the wave

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