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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

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Layne Beachley

2008
Petrina Hicks

inkjet print on paper (frame: 124.5 cm x 113.5 cm, sheet: 122.0 cm x 111.0 cm, image: 110.5 cm x 99.5 cm)

Layne Beachley AO (b. 1972), former surfer and businesswoman, is the world's most successful female professional surfer. Growing up in Manly, Beachley had a negligible amateur surfing record before turning professional in 1989. By the time she was twenty she was ranked number six in the world. Over the course of the 1990s she persevered through debilitating illness to triumph at the World Championships in 1998. She won the same title for the next five consecutive years, between 1999 and 2003, and took a seventh title in 2006, her seventeenth year on the tour. Her other women's surfing records include riding the biggest wave ever, gaining the most world championship tour victories and earning the most money on the circuit. Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2011, Beachley is now chair of Surfing Australia, and is a powerful speaker and ambassador for various charities and causes.

Commissioned to portray Beachley, Petrina Hicks said that she chose to make a stark representation of the champion as she 'wanted her eyes to be the central focus … I realised these were where all her strength is revealed'. During the shoot in Hicks' Bondi apartment, where she took both a still photograph and a digital video, Beachley observed that in her experience, 'whales look you right in the eye, but sharks stare straight through you'.

Commissioned 2008
© Commonwealth of Australia

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Petrina Hicks (age 36 in 2008)

Layne Beachley AO (age 36 in 2008)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Related portraits

1. Layne Beachley, 2008. All Petrina Hicks.

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley
Layne Beachley

Everybody's heard about the bird

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2008

Two professionals; Australian surfer Layne Beachley and photographer Petrina Hicks, combine their strengths to achieve a remarkable portrait.

Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto

Eye to eye

Previous exhibition, 2019

Eye to Eye is a summer Portrait Gallery Collection remix arranged by degree of eye contact – from turned away with eyes closed all the way through to right-back-at-you – as we explore artists’ and subjects’ choices around the direction of the gaze.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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