At the age of 16, Beachley became a professional surfer. By the age of 20 she was ranked sixth in the world. Beachley became the Women’s ASP World Champion in 1998, and won the title again in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006. She is the first woman in history to gain 7 World Championships, six of them consecutive.

Layne Beachley was born Tania Maris Gardner on 24 May 1972 in Sydney, Australia. Her mother was only seventeen years old and unmarried so she was soon adopted by Neil and Valerie Beachley, who lived in nearby Manly. When Layne was only six years old, Valerie Beachley suffered a post-operative brain haemorrhage and died, leaving Layne and her brother to be raised by a family friend.

Beachley has spoken publicly about personal struggles, including the fact that she was conceived during a date rape and later adopted out. She met her biological mother for the first time in 1999.

Beachley was brought up in the competitive Manly surfing scene and was competing and winning in men’s heats at age 15. It is thought that it is here that she developed her strength and style that would make her an unbeaten world champion and big wave rider. Beachley was always available when possible for any worthwhile cause in the community whether it was for sewerage outfall protests or promoting the sport and charities that she is close to.

She married Kirk Pengilly, a member of the Australian rock group INXS, in October 2010.

Beachley has appeared in the movies Blue Crush (2002), Billabong Odyssey (2003), Step into Liquid (2003), and the 2001 documentary 7 Girls.

On 10 October 2008 she retired from professional surfing due to her age.