COVER STORY:

World cham­pion surfer Layne Beach­ley talks about life af­ter they stop spray­ing the cham­pers

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - Ann Rickard [email protected]­news.com.au

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Seven time surf­ing world cham­pion, Layne Beach­ley.

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