World champion surfer Layne Beachley talks about life after they stop spraying the champers
WORLD champion surfer Layne Beachley will be on the
Sunshine Coast, guest of the Sunny Coast Club run by The Sunshine Coast Daily, on May 12 for a highly anticipated event.
After conquering the surfing world with six consecutive world titles in 1998 and a seventh in 2006, and after retiring from professional sport, Layne focused on conducting workshops, mentoring, penning an autobiography, supporting many charities and joining the speaker’s circuit. She also founded Aim for the Stars, a foundation to prevent girls and women enduring the same adversity and financial hardship she encountered on her way to becoming a world champion surfer.
Layne Beachley spoke to Life & Style on the eve of her visit to the Sunshine Coast.
A tumultuous life of highs but then also lows: chronic fatigue, struggles, injuries, depression, what keeps you going?
I have a very optimistic disposition. I am a lover of life, and I love to experience new things and challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone. One thing that keeps me grounded and centred and something that I do every day, is to immerse myself in nature. It keeps me balanced. It is all down to my decision making process.
Life after professional surfing, travelling the globe must be quite different.
When I retired I felt so lost. I lost my sense of structure. I felt like I had to say “yes” to everything and that cost me a lot of joy and loss of quality of life. I saw a mentor, did some work, sorted things out, realised that by trying to be everything to everyone I was compromising my happiness and quality of life. .
And the physical side, the injuries of all those years professional surfing?
The injuries…oh, yes. I had a surf this afternoon, small waves, but after, my hips…I thought “my poor body”. But I have weekly treatments with chiropractors, massage therapists. I do a lot of yoga. I honour my body a whole lot more than I used to. I had taken it for granted for long enough. I am conscious of the nutrition I put in body. I only drink on the weekends. I allow my body to heal itself well enough.
A lot of sports champions suffer depression and a sense of loss after they give up their profession. You?
I know they talk about making sure you have some plan for after you have been competing (professionally) but it doesn’t matter how much you have planned, you still experience the same sense of isolation and loss. When I retired I had a thriving clothing brand, a variety of things going on but I still felt that same sense of loss, knowing you are never going to experience that same level of euphoria again, that no-one will again put you on a pedestal and throw champagne at you. It is very lonely, but pain and suffering come from going back into the past and holding on. I believe in staying in the moment, taking one day at a time and being realistic.
You support many charities, among them Aim for the Stars, tell us about that.
Aiming for the Stars is my passion, my number one project. The girls are supported financially and emotionally and with mentoring. I get a deep sense of satisfaction and joy in my life in serving others. We all want to get into a position where we can do that and create meaningful and significant lives. And surprisingly it takes a small amount of effort to do that. First you choose who you want to support. I focused on women and girls. I know first-hand that for women to succeed they require emotional support and a sense of belonging. Aim for the Stars fosters self-belief in young women so they can do want they want, become leaders or professionals, reach their goals.
Was receiving the Order of Australia a big highlight in a career of so many highlights?
Extremely. I was very surprised and very pleased to be recognised in such a prestigious way. But I forget to wear my (OA) pin. It should be a necklace then I’d wear it all the time.
You recently organised a nude swimming event…brave.
We did that in March, the first time. It was about liberating ourselves of the judgments we put on ourselves and each other. We had 1400 people join in. We all went off in different waves. It was fun. We had volunteers on the beach waiting for us with sarongs. They were naked too.
Your life now with Kirk Pengilly, former INXS star, must be busy.
Yes, up until we had smart phones we had diary meetings every week. Now we share each other’s calendars and catch up on the diaries. Kirk likes to holiday and relax and share quality time with me. He makes me block time out in advance. That’s how we manage our life, and we have very clear communication and we are honest and trusting of each other and we have a lot of understanding. He is very patient.
Seven time surfing world champion, Layne Beachley.