Seven-time World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley has achieved another first in Australian sport by becoming Surfing Australia’s new Chairperson.
Layne is the first former female World Champion of any sport to take on the role in a National Sporting Organisation. She replaces long-serving chairman Norm Innis who steps down after 12 years on the board and 8 years as Chairman.
Layne is the most successful female surfer in history winning seven World Titles (6 consecutively) along with 29 World Tour victories. She spent 15 years on the Association of Surfing Professionals board and staged the richest ASP Women’s World Tour event in Sydney for seven years.
Outside of surfing through her charity the Layne Beachley Foundation, Aim for the Stars, Layne has been instrumental in supporting and empowering over 400 girls and women nationally since it commenced in 2003. Each year the Foundation re ceives over 1000 applications and provides up to $100,000 in scholarship grants. Layne is also an ambassador for several charities including the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and Planet Ark.
A member of the Surfing Australia board since 2010, Layne also sits on the board of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Minister for Health and Sport Sussan Ley congratulated Layne on her appointment.
“As an advocate for surfing and a strong supporter of increasing women’s involvement in sport at all levels, it is great to see Layne putting back in to a sport that she starred in as an athlete. Surfing is not only a national sport that we excel at on the international stage but is a treasured past time for so many Australians. I congratulate Layne on her appointment.”
In her new role as Chair of Surfing Australia, Layne said: “I have a vision to bring Australia back to being the dominant performer on the world stage of professional surfing, on both male and female world tours. I want more Australian future world champions and Gold Medal winners as we progress towards Olympic inclusion in 2020.
“To achieve this we plan to significantly expand the High Performance Centre at Casuarina, enabling us to build an even bigger state of the art facility that is recognised and respected worldwide for nurturing and developing future champions. The centre will also cater for broader community engagement across charities, corporate and education providers, offering access to training, ground breaking research and leadership programs, further consolidating Australia’s reputation as the global home of high performance sport.
“I am extremely grateful for the confidence and skill set of the board, which is a result of the leadership and vision for the organisation that has been held by Norm Innis during his 12-year tenure. I am excited to be stepping into this role at such a pivotal time in Surfing Australia’s growth and together with the board we will be setting a course to steer us firmly to the top of the international arena.”
Retiring chairman Norm Innis said the organisation will be well served with Layne Beachley as Chair.
“After 12 years of volunteer involvement with Surfing Australia, the last 8 as chairman, it is time to pass the baton,” Norm said. “I trust I have been able to help build on the foundation originally provided by Bob Evans, and developed by Rod Brooks and Alan Atkins.
“Having been privileged to know Layne Beachley since she was a teenager surfing for Quiksilver, I have watched her career in both surfing, and the public arena, with great interest. It is fitting that Layne now assumes the Chair to take Surfing Australia into its next period of development. I wish her, and the organisation, all the best for the future.”
Surfing Australia is about to embark on a new strategic plan and changes on the board reflect a strong focus towards its digital growth and business sustainability initiatives. Former Westpac executive and current QSRH Ltd CEO Rob Coombe becomes Deputy Chairperson, while senior media executive Brett Chenoweth is the most recent addition to the board.
Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said: “I would like to thank and acknowledge the fantastic contribution that Norm Innis has provided to the organisation. Norm has been a dedicated Chairman with a clear vision and surfing should be grateful to have had such a visionary leader over the past decade. He has truly left a legacy for the sport of surfing in Australia.
“We welcome Layne Beachley to the Chair role and look forward to working with her towards continued growth and success for Surfing Australia.”