Layne Beachley to be elevated to NSW Sport Legend status

Published Thu 12 Oct 2023

Layne Beachley to be elevated to NSW Sport Legend status

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.

The five new NSW Hall of Champions are:

John Forbes - Yachting

Forbes made history when he became the first Tornado catamaran sailor ever to win three World Championships. He went on to better that by completing his career with a total of seven catamaran World Championship wins.

Four-time Australian Sailor of the Year, and a veteran of three Olympic Games, Forbes won a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games with Mitch Booth. In 2000, they won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Forbes won four European Championships, and 10 Australian Championships.

Heather Garriock - Football

With 130 matches for the Matildas, Garriock is Australia’s fourth highest capped international football player.

In a career spanning 1999 to 2014, Garriock played in three FIFA Women’s World Cups (2003, 2007 and 2011), two Olympic Games (2000 and 2004) and top-tier club football in Europe, America, and Australia. Her 2007 World Cup header goal was voted one of the top ten goals of the tournament.

She was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal in 2003 and inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame in 2022. Garriock has been a major advocate for rights and protections of players including maternity rights and equal pay.

Today, Garriock is a football analyst and commentator and Chief Executive Officer for Australian Taekwondo.

Mathew Helm – Diving

One of Australia’s most decorated divers, Helm has won medals at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Grand Prix, and World Cups.

A three-time Olympian, Helm first competed at Sydney 2000, but it was the 2004 Athens Games that placed him in the history books winning silver in the 10m platform - the first medal by an individual male Australian diver since Dick Eve’s gold medal in Paris in 1924. Helm also won bronze in the synchronised platform with diving partner Robert Newbery at the Athens Olympics.

Helm competed at the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, winning gold medals in the 10m platform and synchronised diving with Newbery in 2006.  He has won a gold, one silver and a bronze medal at World Championships, eight Grand Prix golds, and two silver and a bronze at World Cups.

Helm is currently National Coach with Diving Australia.

Brett Lee – Cricket

Bowling more than 150 kilometres per hour, Lee was one of the most exciting players to represent Australia during the halcyon days of the 2000s.

Lee played 76 Tests capturing 310 wickets, he claimed 380 wickets in 221 One Day Internationals and 28 wickets in 25 T20 internationals. He is the second fastest Australian ODI player to take 100 wickets (after Mitchell Starc).

Lee made history by claiming the first T20 hat-trick in 2007 against Bangladesh at the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. He was also the first Australian bowler to take a hat-trick at a Cricket World Cup match against Kenya in 2003.

He is the founder of his own Foundation, ‘Mewsic’ which provides music therapy to children suffering from cancer.

David Palmer OAM – Squash

Palmer won a record 27 Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments, including two World Championships, four British Opens and reached number one world ranking twice. He was in the top ten of the PSA for 10 consecutive years from 2000 to 2010.

Palmer is the most successful Commonwealth Games squash athlete of all time, competing at six Games from 1998 to 2018, winning three gold, two silver and four bronze medals across singles and doubles. He is currently Head Coach of Squash at Cornell University in New York.

The NSW Hall of Champions is located at Quaycentre at Sydney Olympic Park.

For tickets to the prestigious Ceremony, go to

Further information: Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications, Ph: 0418 239 139

To interview Layne Beachley, contact her PA Jodee on 0407 236 432 or