Surfing champion Bethany Hamilton spoke out over the weekend about the World Surf League’s new policy allowing transgender women to compete against biological females in the sport.
Hamilton lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark in 2003 but was unfazed by the attack. She has since won multiple national championships.
“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 said. “The World Surf League says they are following the Olympic guidelines.”
She said that while she tries to love everyone, she was concerned about allowing biological men to compete 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 continued. “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 proceeded to ask the league to answer multiple questions that she had about the change.
“How is this rule playing out in other sports like swimming, running, MMA?” she asked. “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 said that she believes the best solution would be to create a separate division for 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 concluded. “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 added.
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