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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
11 Feb 2023

NextImg:Surfer Bethany Hamilton Vows to Boycott World Surf League Events Over Transgender Policies

Surfer Bethany Hamilton says she will boycott professional surfing events that allow male-to-female transgender athletes to compete.

Hamilton, who lost an arm to a shark attack in 2003 and whose story was portrayed in the movie “Soul Surfer,” said last week she won’t compete if the World Surf League persists with its new policy letting transgender surfers who have low testosterone levels to compete in women’s divisions.

The league, based in Santa Monica, Calif., oversees the so-called World Tour events for the world’s top professional surfers.

Hamilton told more than 2 million fans in videos posted on Instagram she’s skeptical of the new guidelines and suggested professional surfers currently competing in the World Tour should have been consulted before the new policy was implemented.

“Many of the girls currently on tour are not in support [of] this new rule, and they fear being ostracized if they speak up,” she said. “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 World Surf League events for the past 15-plus years.”

Surfer Bethany Hamilton accepts Favorite Comeback Athlete onstage during Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards 2014 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on July 17, 2014. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Although she isn’t surfing in the World Tour, Hamilton draws large crowds when she does compete.

The World Surf League stated Feb. 6, that its policy reflects the new standards of the International Surfing Association, which sets qualification rules for the Olympics.

The international association changed its standards in October, allowing male-born athletes who identify as female to compete with women if they have maintained a certain level of testosterone for the previous 12 months.

Both organizations have stated they will continue to evaluate their policies and as more research, information and feedback emerges.

Because other women’s sports have seen “glimpses of male-bodied dominance,” Hamilton suggested on social media that the “best solution” would be to create a separate division for transgender athletes “so all can have an opportunity to showcase passion and talent.”

She additionally said she’s received “mean and cruel” pushback for her stance and urged all to have civil conversation and debate about the issue of transgender athletes in women’s sports.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that I don’t, and I won’t, live in anger at the world and the people I share it with,” she posted. “I won’t hate because I don’t see things the way others may. And, I will continually aim to have grace, forgiveness and love and honesty, no matter how cruel and harsh the world may be.”