Seven-time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, AO, will be officially recognised as a Legend of NSW Sport at the prestigious rebel NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, on Monday, November 20.
Beachley, unquestionably one of the greatest female surfers in the history of the sport, becomes the 24th NSW athlete and the first surfer to be elevated to NSW Legend Status.
She is the 10th female athlete to be elevated to NSW Legend Status joining the likes of Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Shane Gould, Louise Sauvage, Anne Sargeant, Heather McKay, Margaret Court, Betty Cuthbert, and Dawn Fraser.
Beachley is the first woman to win seven World Championships triumphing in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006. She is the only surfer, male or female, to win six consecutive world titles. Beachley also won 29 ASP World Championship events.
In 2018, Beachley won an eighth world title, becoming the first female winner of the WSL World Masters Championship.
She has been inducted into the US and Australian Surfing Halls of Fame and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. She was five times Australian Surfing Life Magazine’s Surfer of the Year, three times NSW Sportsperson of the Year and won the coveted ESPN Surfer of the Year in 2001. She was 2003 Australian Female Athlete of the Year.
Besides her prowess in the surf, Beachley spent decades breaking down surfing barriers advocating for equality in and out of the water and funded the dreams of over 500 young girls and women to achieve their potential through her Aim for the Stars Foundation.
A champion for mental wellness, passionate environmental campaigner, Chair of Surfing Australia, plus 15 years on the Association of Surfing Professionals Board, and with half of all enrolments at Learn-to-Surf being women, Beachley has had an enduring impact on the sport.
The Awards ceremony will also see five NSW sports greats inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions. They are John Forbes (Yachting), Heather Garriock (Football), Mathew Helm (Diving), Brett Lee (Cricket) and David Palmer, OAM (Squash).
NSW Hall of Champions Committee Chair, Alan Whelpton AO, said the elevation of Beachley to Legend status and the accomplishments of the five inductees during their distinguished careers earned them worthy selection.
“Layne enjoyed a career which set the benchmark for other surfers to follow, and she continues to be an inspirational voice today,” said Whelpton.
“The five inductees John Forbes, Heather Garriock, Mathew Helm, Brett Lee, and David Palmer are recognised for their outstanding sports careers which saw them reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. They represented their country, state, sport, and themselves with distinction and inspired a new generation of athletes to follow in their footsteps.”
Sport NSW Chief Executive, Stuart Hodge, paid tribute to Beachley and to the five new inductees.
“Layne has been a champion for surfing in and out of the water. Her elevation to NSW Hall of Champions Legend status is a magnificent acknowledgement of her immense contribution to surfing, and to sport more broadly,” said Hodge.
“We also welcome John, Heather, Mathew, Brett, and David into the Hall of Champions. They join other NSW sports greats who have served NSW and Australian sport with honour and distinction,” added Hodge.
The gala Ceremony dinner will also celebrate the achievements of NSW athletes, coaches, administrators, and organisations across 13 Award-winning categories including Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year with a Disability.