Tayla Hanak is a surfer who was awarded a Scholarship within the 2016 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and was paired with Layne Beachley AO as her Mentor.
Tayla was born on the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia in 1997 and began surfing competitively at age 12. She won many contests as a junior and was soon defeating competitors a few years older than her at state and national level. This early success prompted her to dream of a career as a professional surfer.
Before turning 15, Tayla had already won several state titles at U16, U18 and Open level, and she became the first South Australian female to win an Australian junior title in 2014. Such impressive results saw Tayla chosen to captain the Australian Junior Team at the ISA World Junior Surfing Games in California in 2015, and the team came home with the bronze medal.
Unfortunately for Tayla, she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2015 and was forced to take a break from training and competition. She sought advice from her SAHOF Mentor Layne Beachley, who herself overcame CFS and dominated the world of women’s surfing, and Tayla was able to return to the waves.
Tayla joined the World Qualifying Series in 2017 in an effort to compete against the world’s best of the senior tour, and she achieved multiple podium finishes during WQS events in South Africa, keeping alive her dream of a career as a pro surfer.
In 2018, Tayla was excited by a new challenge, and started chasing huge walls of water as a big wave surfer.