Surf icon Bethany Hamilton whips up new transgender rules: “This affects me as an athlete”

Surf icon Bethany Hamilton will refuse to compete in future World Surf League (WSL) events if they allow trans female athletes to compete in her division.

This comes as WSL announces the adoption of a new policy on transgender empowerment.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Surfer Bethany Hamilton questions new transgender rules.

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Hamilton, best known for surviving a 2003 shark attack in which she lost her left arm, has been a part of WSL for more than 15 years and continues to champion surfers of all ability levels.

The guideline states that a transfemale athlete must maintain testosterone levels below five nmol/L for at least 12 months in order to compete in the women’s division.

The new policy comes in line with the Olympics where surfing made its debut in Tokyo in 2021.

“While I address this issue, I want to make it clear that I strive to love all of humanity, regardless of differences, but that affects me as a professional athlete,” Hamilton said.

“I feel like I have to speak up and speak up for those who are in a position who may feel they have nothing to say about it.

“I think a lot of the girls who are currently touring don’t support this new rule and fear being ostracized if they speak out, so go for it.”

Hamilton then asked WSL numerous questions.

Bethany Hamilton has criticized the World Surf League’s introduction of new rules for transgender athletes. Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

“How does this rule affect other sports like swimming, running and MMA,” she asked.

“Has any of the current surfers in the WSL been asked for their thoughts and opinions on this new rule before it was passed or announced?

“Is a hormone level an honest and accurate representation that someone is actually a man or a woman? Is it that simple?

“Who is pushing this big change, is it improving the sport of surfing?

“How did whoever went by those hormonal rules come to the conclusion that 12 months of testosterone is a fair and legal transition?

“Personally, I think the best solution would be to create another department so that everyone has a fair opportunity to show their passion and talent.”

She also said, “Personally, I will not be participating in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule stands.”

Hamilton was the subject of a spate of social media comments surrounding the controversial video, and responded with a second installment.

“As I responded to that, I knew the hammer of meanness and cruelty was going to fall on me for not going with the flow because I have a different opinion,” Hamilton said to the camera.

“I’m not going to address a number of questions, but as far as I know, this is not supported by the majority of women currently on the tour.”

It appears Hamilton has some support as newly crowned Billabong Pro Pipeline champion and Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore commented “so well said” alongside a host of other athletes including Australian snowboarder Torah Bright.

In response to some of the backlash she received in her second video, Hamilton responded.

“Women have had a long surfing journey to get to where we are and with the amount of evidence that transgender athletes with male bodies scientifically have a very different structure and strength,” she wrote in the comments.

“I’m not trying to exclude anyone, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and for me it’s here.

“Separate sharing is all I have at this point. And it may take time, but we’ve all been waiting for that time to shine too.”

In a statement earlier this week, WSL announced the new policy.

“As an Olympic sport and in an effort to include all of WSL’s disciplines in the Olympics, WSL has adopted the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) policy on transgender participation,” it said.

“A surfer’s eligibility to participate in a male or female event under this rule is subject to compliance with the ISA Transgender Policy.

“WSL works to balance equity and fairness, and we will continue to evaluate the policy over the coming months and years as more research, information and feedback becomes available.”

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James Brien

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