Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, the subject of the film “Soul Surfer”, has made waves by announcing that she will not compete in the World Surf League due to its inclusion of transgender women, biological men, in the female division.
Hamilton took to her Instagram account to post a video revealing this decision and explaining the reasons for the drastic action she took:
“Today I want to address the news that 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. The World Surf League says they are following the Olympic guidelines. While I address this issue, I want to be clear that I strive to have love for all of mankind, regardless of any differences. But this concerns me as a professional athlete that has been competing in the World Surf League events for the past 15 plus years. And I feel that I must speak up and stand up in positions that may feel that they cannot say something about this. 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 clearly has a real gripe with the World Surf League for this decision. Not only will it make competitions nearly impossible to win with the inclusion of biological males in the female division, but it will also almost eradicate any sort of female division in the sport as it existed before. With some competitors being given a massive genetic advantage in the sport, the likes that have not been seen before, more and more girls will be driven away from competing on the highest stage.
Hamilton lists out a few questions near the end of the video, with hopes of better-helping fans and naysayers alike to understand where she is coming from:
1 . “How is this rule playing other sports, like swimming, running, MMA?”
Poorly, athletes like Fallon Fox and Lia Thomas dominated their sports after transitioning.
2. “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?”
Judging from this video, it would seem that no surfers were asked for thoughts prior to the rule change, as Hamilton would have surely been near the top of the list of those to ask.
3. “Should there be a conversation with the 17 women and all of the men on tour prior to a rule change such as this?”
4. “Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female?”
It seems that professional women’s surfing has met an inflection point in its trajectory, and Bethany Hamilton is not ready to let it go without a fight. Few athletes would have the courage to step out and create a video like this, openly detailing why they are against the bastardization of their division. She is hoping that she can change the tide for a sport sport that in danger of serious ruin, and only time will tell if she can.
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