This past weekend, Surfing champion Bethany Hamilton spoke up about the new policy from the World Surf League which would allow transgender women to take part in competitions against biological females in the sport.
Back in 2003, Hamilton ended up losing her left arm to an attack from a 14-foot tiger shark but was seemingly unfazed by the attack. Since the attack, she was able to take multiple national championships despite the injury.
“The World Surf League has officially made the rule that male-bodied individuals known as transgender athletes can officially compete in the women’s division,” she stated. “The World Surf League says they are following the Olympic guidelines.”
She stated that while she attempts to love everyone equally, she was quite worried about letting any biological men take part in competitions against biological women.
“I feel that I must speak up and stand up for those in a position that may feel that they cannot say something about this,” she went on. “I think many of the girls currently on tour are not in support with this new rule, and they fear being ostracized if they speak up.”
Hamilton then went on to press the league with multiple questions to which she demanded answers to which she had about the current change.
“How is this rule playing out in other sports like swimming, running, MMA?” she posited of the league. “Have any of the current surfers in the World Surf League been asked what their thoughts and opinions are on this new rule before it was passed or announced? Should there be a conversation with the 17 women and all of the men on tour prior to a rule change such as this? Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? … Who is pushing for this huge change? Does this better the sport of surfing? Is this better for the woman in surfing? If so, how? How did whoever decided these hormone rules come to the conclusion that 12 months of testing testosterone make it a fair and legal switch? Why is the WSL statement about trans women competing with women and yet there’s no mention of converted women competing with men?”
Hamilton stated that she thinks the best way to handle this would be to set up entirely new divisions for just trans athletes.
“I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15 to 20 years down the road if we move forward in allowing this major change,” she went on. “But we are seeing glimpses of male-bodied dominance in women’s sports like running, swimming and others.”
“I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains,” she went on.
Surfing champion Bethany Hamilton responds to the World Surf League's new policy allowing biological males who claim they are women to compete against women: "I personally won't be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains."
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 5, 2023