Stab Magazine | Layne Beachley Opens Up About Adoption And The Rape Of Her Biological Mother

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Layne Beachley Opens Up About Adoption And The Rape Of Her Biological Mother

An immense show of bravery and resilience from one of the greatest female surfers of our time.

news // Oct 5, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In an incredible show of strength and bravery, seven-time women’s world champ, Layne Beachley has poured her heart out about the ‘date-rape’ scenario that led to her being conceived and later put up for adoption.

Speaking to the Herald Sun in Australia, Layne told of the trauma of being eight years old and finding out from her non-biological father that she was adopted at birth.

“When Dad told me, I felt so abandoned,” she told the Herald Sun. “I felt so worthless. I thought if my own mother doesn’t want me, who the fuck does? I thought I was so undeserving, and created a victimised mentality based on these thoughts and belief.”

Layne’s biological mother, who was an aspiring model, was raped as a 17-year-old after going on date with the manager of a modelling agency. Beachley was contacted by her biological mother after winning her first world title but wasn’t ready to accept her or her children into her life yet. They have since set about repairing that relationship.

The trauma would instil in her the double-edged sword of low self-esteem and abandonment complexes. On the one hand, Layne says it compelled her to achieve greatness in the surfing arena, though on the other, it also played a role in the life and death struggle with depression and suicide that would later consume her.

The story of severe family and childhood trauma is a recurring one among many of surfing’s biggest names. John John Florence has remained largely estranged from his father after being raised as one of the three children to a heroic cash-strapped single mother on the North Shore of Oahu.

His neighbour, Jamie O’Brien, was also abandoned by a parent as a child, in his case, his mother. “The connection is there but it’s real vague,” he told The Surfer’s Journal. “It’s like, I love her, but my dad’s my mum pretty much. It’s hard, you know, because I didn’t leave, she left. And I’d imagine it’d be pretty hard to leave your kids.”

Coolie Kid and former World Tour surfer, Dean Morrison, was also the product of a badly broken home before being taken into care as an adolescent by the legendary Australian pro surfer and former ASP president, Rabbit Bartholomew.
Best mate Mick Fanning’s parents separated when he was two, leaving him to be raised by a working class single mother. Kelly Slater has spoken openly about his troubling relationship with his father, who was an alcoholic. He and his brother were sometimes forced to sleep outside on their concrete driveway due to his parents’ screaming matches. Kelly’s mother eventually kicked his father out when he was 11, with surfing becoming a release for much of his pain and anger.

“Kelly used surfing as a replacement for intimacy and stability, and goes from being very present one minute to seemingly aloof the next,” Kelly once told reporter in mock self-analysis. “He’s a pretty complex case study because he lives a lot of different lives… his surroundings and friends constantly changing.”


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