029: Layne Beachley/Life Is The Lesson

Layne on a mission.

“My first six world titles were won in a state of fear. The seventh was won in a state of love.”

I welcomed yet another legend of surfing onto the show for episode 029 when I visited Layne Beachley, one of the Lucky Country‘s most famous and well-loved sporting personalities, at her Manly home.

Photo: WSL

Seven times ASP world champion, chair of Surfing Australia, ISA Executive Committee member, founder of the Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation, big wave pioneer; I’ve been lucky enough to speak to some big hitters over the last year, but Layne is right up there.

Layne at Ours, 2009

She’s also, as I discovered when I visited her at her Queenscliff home in December 2017, a funny, insightful and generous presence, keen to share her experiences from an incredible career as candidly as possible.

Among the highlights? Layne on:

  • The hard years fighting her corner in the face of surfing’s entrenched sexism and misogyny.
  • The difference between working hard and hard work.
  • How her first six world titles were won in a “state of fear.”
  • The point at which she stopped driving herself so fiercely, and how it led to her seventh and final world crown.

Yep – a great episode this one, with a true action sports legend with tales to tell and lessons to impart. Don’t miss it.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Layne on how her first 6 world titles were won in a state of fear

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Show Notes

  • Background noise.
  • Layne’s amazing back garden and set-up.
  • Layne’s quiver.
  • The luxury of surfing every day.
  • The importance of empowering yourself first and foremost to inspire others.
  • Living according to your values….
  • …and how it took Layne a long time to understand what those are.
  • An early competitive epiphany at Bells.
  • The difficulty of matching those expectations to outcome.
  • When is enough ever enough?
  • “My first six world titles were won in a state of fear. The seventh was won in a state of love.”
  • The competitive years as emotional rollercoaster – “there was no consistency of joy.”
  • The requirements Layne put on herself to achieve competitive greatness.
  • The difference between working hard and hard work.
  • Louise Hay’s ideas about allowing joy.
  • Hard work as a means of proving oneself worthy of love and belonging.
  • Physical breakdown as a catalyst for change.
  • “We’d rather be right than happy.”
  • The importance of emotional work to reach these new conclusions and change the focus of attention.
  • Layne’s blog on choosing to be the person you want to be.
  • Scepticism among Layne’s peers – and then praise.
  • The difficulty of being a woman surfer during Layne’s career.
  • Where the name Manly came from.
  • How Layne coped in the male-dominated surfing culture of the time – and thrived in it.
  • Self-validation as a hugely powerful driving force.
  • The state of the women’s industry back then.
  • Industry challenges and everyday sexism Layne faced.
  • “They expected me to be a man.”
  • ‘Queen of Self Promotion’
  • How things have changed for female surfers.
  • Honesty barometers, dream thieves and life vampires.
  • ”I’m proud of how it’s changed. I didn’t want to have to go through all that shit and it be for nothing”.
  • The importance of sharing personal struggles and struggles so people know they aren’t alone.
  • Sharing demonstrates a faith in your vulnerability.
  • The goals behind the Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation.
  • The gesture that changed Layne’s life and inspired her to set up the Foundation.
  • Some of the beneficiaries of Layne’s foundation.
  • Becoming Chairperson of Surfing Australia, and what the role entails.
  • The goals of Surfing Australia.
  • Layne’s view of the impact of surfing in the Olympics.
  • How Surfing Australia is helping to organise the route for Aussie surfers to get to the Games.
  • Layne’s speaking career and how she fell into it.
  • Finding new ones of telling the story and providing insights.
  • Layne’s pioneering big wave sessions – including surfing Ours.
  • Setting one competitive challenge a year.
  • Utilising those challenges to stay in shape – and how that level of expectation has changed with age.
  • The importance of being a pioneer and blazing the trail for others to follow.
  • The Law of Proximity.
  • Layne’s pride in her surfing and post-surfing legacies.
  • Future ambitions.

People Mentioned


Waves Mentioned