The seven-time surfing world champion shares what she’s learnt about life, both in and out of the water.

1. The ocean is where I feel safe. When I experience sadness or distress, the first thing I want to do is immerse myself in the water – it’s where I can truly connect with my thoughts and my feelings.

2 I never really had a fear of failure. A lot of people believe they must have the confidence before they go after something, but your confidence is built through your belief that you can work it out as you go.

3. Physical pain is emotional pain distracted - that's my belief. My body broke down after I won my sixth consecutive world title. [A pre-existing injury flared up and 80% of Layne’s spinal cord was severed by a herniated disc in her neck.] So I committed every aspect of my life to healing my body and that included a process called BioSync [a hands-on therapy to resolve physical and emotional trauma]. It enabled me to let go of a lot of deep-seated fears, emotions and traumas that were stuck in my body.

4. A 'win at all costs' mentality had destroyed the joy in my career. But I completely shifted my mindset when I won my seventh world title. I knew how to win in fear; now I had to learn how to win in love and that’s what I committed to.

5. I’m naturally hard on myself and I easily fall into “I’m not enough” mode, especially when I’m fatigued. So, I look for my triggers… they’re a message to take some time off, chill out, start journalling, or do my gratitude practice – just do something different.

6. Having people in your life who care for you, nurture you and support you is important. I have a lot of great friends who are very respectful sounding boards. I call them my honesty barometers.

7. I priortise my health and wellbeing now because I’ve compromised it so many times! There are days when I overindulge and so I balance that out with a fast day – my husband [INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly] and I follow the 5:2 [intermittent fasting] diet – or I schedule in alcohol-free days, increase my water intake and make green juices. I listen to my body and nourish it.

8. Communication is key in relationships. Kirk and I have a mutual respect and appreciation for each other. We’re not allowed to go to bed angry or leave the house without telling each other we love one another.

9. I’m totally embracing getting older. I love what comes with it – the wisdom, the maturity, the self-compassion, the continual evolution of life.

10. We all want to know that our life mattered. I feel so blessed with the life I’ve had, the lessons I’ve learnt, the experiences I’ve endured. And I’m so hungry to share those things with the world.

Sign up to Layne’s Awake Academy online self-empowerment course at

Layne's life lessons feature in the April/May issue of Prevention magazine, on sale now.

© Prevention Australia