March 9, 2010 : – – Surfing Australia is proud to announce that Layne Beachley has accepted a position on the Board of Surfing Australia concurrently with Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew also accepting the position as the first ever Patron of Surfing Australia.
Both former World Champion surfers, Layne a seven-time world champion, their influence on the sport has been enormous during and post their competitive careers. Surfing Australia Chairman Norm Innis commented on both appointments by saying,
"Rabbit was a hero of mine when I was a teenage surfer in the mid seventies, and I count myself extremely fortunate that I was able to work with him directly over the years in a number of different capacities – particularly with ASP International when he first came on board as CEO in 1999 and 2000. Rabbit has done so much in surfing I wouldn't know where to begin describing his achievements.
Rabbit is "Mr Surf" in Australia! As such, he was the obvious choice as Patron of Surfing Australia – the first ever person appointed to this position. I know Rabbit will continue to work for the betterment of the sport of surfing as long as he is able – and to have him allied to Surfing Australia as Patron shows the high regard in which he is held, not just by surfers, but by the whole community in Australia."
"I first met Layne almost 20 years ago when she was just starting out on her career. Even then she was super focused, and that determination not only eventually resulted in 7 World Surfing Titles, but also in Layne becoming a talented businesswoman, a philanthropist, and a role model for female surfers everywhere.
Layne obviously brings a much needed female perspective to the Board of Surfing Australia, but in addition she brings her professional surfing experience, her immense range of contacts, and her personal vision for surfing in Australia. I take great pleasure in welcoming her to the Board."
Their appointments are effective immediately and both are set to tackle their roles enthusiastically. Layne has just returned from the Winter Olympics in Canada and commented on her position saying,
“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience on the Board of Surfing Australia. This role will allow me to maintain a position of influence and assist the board to continue supporting the growth of Women’s Surfing.”
For Wayne Bartholomew the position of Patron adds to his incredible history in the sport which encompasses competitor across all levels through to Administrator of the highest level.
"I'm pleased to take on this honorary role as Patron, it's like a cycle of involvement as I began surfing for Queensland and then representing Australia through Surfing Australia and was once the Surfing Australia National Coaching Director – I'll always have views on the sport and the direction it can go and this maintains a healthy involvement for me."
Andrew Stark Surfing Australia CEO said "We are very pleased to have Layne and Rabbit join Surfing Australia in their respective roles. We are working hard towards becoming a main stream Australian sport and their combined involvement will be crucial towards the achievement of this vision"