This article was originally published by The Daily Telegraph. Read the original article here: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/ 0,,24860811-5001023,00.html
By Layne Beachley
for The Daily Telegraph
January 01, 2009 12:00am
FOR Layne Beachley, home has never been a constant.
Throughout a surfing career that spanned two decades and seven world titles she saw hundreds of hotel rooms and scores of beaches.
As a young woman working through the struggles of her adoption, there was an emotional journey surrounding her identity as well.
But after her decision to retire in October, a “refreshed” Beachley is back on the Northern Beaches for good.
“I was so ready to come home, I’d been away for two months, I’d been in Hawaii for six weeks and all I was doing is just aching to get back to Freshie (Freshwater beach),” Beachley said yesterday. “I’ve no regrets or second thoughts. All I want to do is be home now. I’ve been a gypsy for the last 20 years and it’s time to settle down and slow down and enjoy being in one place.
“I’m still surprised, amazed and very grateful at the opportunities that surfing has presented me.
“If it wasn’t for becoming a professional surfer and becoming a world champion seven times I wouldn’t be sitting here.
“If I’m asked for a highlight of my career, it would be calling myself a professional surfer for 20 years, that’s been the highlight of my life.”
Even though her championship career is no more, the 36-year-old is still at her former office every day.
“I was given a stand-up paddle board when I retired and I bought (fiance) Kirk (Pengilly) one for Christmas, so I’ve been stand-up paddling every morning,” she said.
There are multiple facets to Beachley’s personality and she will soon add another – a wife.
She and long-term partner Pengilly, of INXS fame, became engaged in Hawaii in November.
“We haven’t made any plans yet, it’s taken us six years to get engaged so hopefully it doesn’t take us another six years to get married.
“I think I’ll have to leave Kirk to (the planning) . . . let the retired rock star organise the wedding.”
Beachley’s work is now with several causes and charity projects close to her heart.
Her most recent endeavour is the World of Difference project, which offers people the chance to leave their job for a year and volunteer full-time for a chosen charity while being financially supported by Vodafone.
“You don’t have to be a millionaire and you don’t have to have a lot of time, we all have the ability to make a difference,” Beachley said.
She hasn’t completely farewelled surf competition and will continue to run the Beachley Classic at Manly beach, a task made easier by the fact she is no longer a competitor.
As she settles into full-time life at Freshwater, Beachley believes 2009 can be one of her best years.
“I’m usually such a goal-orientated human being, so 2009 is just a year of opportunity as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “I’m opening up my mind and my heart to anything that comes my way.”