World Surf League boycotted by ‘Soul Surfer’ over transgender policy
Bethany Hamilton, world-famous “Soul Surfer” and resident of Kaua‘i, says she will no longer participate in the World Surf League if the organization goes forward with a new policy for transgender athletes.
On Feb. 6, the World Surf League announced its adoption of the International Surfing Association’s transgender participation policy. The change means transgender women may now compete in the women’s division of the World Surf League, provided they meet testosterone testing requirements – no more than 5 nanomoles per liter – for the previous 12 months.
Hamilton, an outspoken Christian figure who lost an arm to a shark when she was 13 years old, aired her opposition to the change Sunday in a video posted to Instagram.
“I have love for all mankind … I think many of the girls on tour are not in support with this new rule, and they fear being ostracized if they speak up,” Hamilton said, before questioning the World Surf League’s decision-making.
“Does this better the sport of surfing?” she asked.
Hamilton’s comments sparked both support and outrage on social media.
I am so confused by her mentality. Surfing isn’t even a contact sport. The sets u use to compete are side by side with fellow competitors but are caught completely on your own. This narrative is insinuating one gender is dominant over the other in surfing which is not the case.— Merbaby (@firesbeing) February 6, 2023
Hamilton responded in a second Instagram video posted Tuesday, describing the world as “cruel and hurtful” while talking above a caption stating the World Surf League will now allow “transgenders [sic] to compete with the women.”
She also posted a meme to her Twitter account in apparent reference to her comments’ backlash.
Hamilton’s representatives did not immediately respond to an interview request.
See my IG if your curious. pic.twitter.com/yhj72LoRrF— Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) February 8, 2023