Layne Beachley AO, surfer, seven-time world champion

Hawaii’s North Shore is this world champion surfer’s home away from home.


I first went to Hawaii as an eight-year-old on a family holiday and fell in love with Hawaii’s North Shore the moment I first laid eyes on it; the power of the ocean, the size of the waves, the warmth of the water, the incredible sunsets. I based myself at Sunset Beach, Oahu, for five years when I was on the circuit and won six of my seven world titles in Hawaii, two at Sunset Beach. It is the surfing mecca and there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. It is my home away from home.


During the early ’90s, when I was competing in California, I decided to escape the rat race and drive down to Mexico for the day with some other competitors. We drove to a remote surf spot called K38, surfed all day and then drove home that night. I remember being so happy and free, surfing perfect waves all day without the crowds, and then rewarding myself with margaritas, guacamole and chips and fish tacos. I have returned countless times and I’ve always felt a real sense of freedom there.


In 2004, when competing in Peru, I caught a train and bus to Machu Picchu with some other surfers. It was much bigger than I expected. It was beautiful, spiritual, awe-inspiring and quite overwhelming. We were also lucky enough to hike up to the summit of Wayna Picchu, a steep mountain behind Machu Picchu that provides a bird’s eye view over the site, revealing the shape of the falcon in which the ancient citadel is laid out.


When (husband) Kirk Pengilly and I first visited Cambodia, I was really awestruck by the friendliness and happiness of the Cambodian people. They have endured such human rights atrocities, poverty and political instability. While there is an element of sadness, there is no bitterness. The Cambodian people have a wonderful optimism and strength of spirit; it’s like they have just picked up and ”got on with it”. I love that!


After decades of travelling the world for our respective careers, Kirk and I wanted to see more of our own backyard. We flew to Broome, hired a four-wheel-drive camper and drove to Darwin via the Gibb River Road. It was the best adventure ever. We just lived simply and relished in being in the great outdoors, swimming in natural pools and gorges and watching nature’s television every night around the campfire. We took 3½ weeks to get to Darwin but could have spent 3½ months. The outback is spectacular and I plan to see a whole lot more of it.

Layne will lead two trips with Huma Charity Challenge to Tasmania in November this year to raise funds for The Layne Beachley Foundation, which propels young women and teens towards their career and sports goals. See

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