Bethany Hamilton, a well-known American surfer, has declared that she will boycott the World Surf League (WSL) professional tour due to its new guidelines on transgender competitors. The announcement by Hamilton came after the WSL declared its intention to adopt the policies of the International Surfing Association (ISA) in regards to transgender athletes. The ISA updated its laws in October 2022, stating that athletes who were assigned male at birth must maintain a testosterone level below 5 nmol/L for a year in order to be eligible for women’s events.
According to the new guidelines, athletes are required to conduct their own testing and consult with the WSL’s chief medical officer in order to qualify for competition. The WSL Chief, Jessi Miley-Dyer, acknowledged the importance of having a policy in place to balance equity and fairness in the sport. She also recognized that the policy may need to evolve over time based on feedback and new research in the field.
However, Hamilton is steadfast in her belief that athletes born male should not be allowed to compete professionally against women. In a recent Instagram video, she expressed her concerns as a professional athlete who has been competing for over 15 years. She feels the need to speak up for those who may feel they cannot express their opinions on the issue. Hamilton believes that many of the female athletes on tour are not in support of the new rule and fear being ostracized if they speak up.
Hamilton raised several questions about the new rule, including its implications for other sports such as swimming, running, and mixed martial arts. She also questioned whether a hormone level is an accurate depiction of someone’s gender and who is pushing for such a significant change in the sport. She believes that the best solution would be to create a separate division so that all athletes can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent.
Hamilton’s announcement has sparked a heated debate about the future of women’s surfing and the impact of the new rule on the sport. Hamilton, who had her left arm bitten off by a tiger shark at the age of 13, is a high-profile WSL athlete. She has released multiple books, been the subject of documentaries, and inspired feature films about her life. Her statement has gained widespread attention, and many are considering the implications of the new rule and its impact on the sport.
The issue of transgender athletes in competitive sports has been a controversial topic for years, and the surf community is no exception. The WSL’s new policy is designed to ensure fairness and equity in the sport, but it is also causing concern among many female athletes who feel that their hard-earned accomplishments may be impacted by the inclusion of athletes born male in their events.
While the WSL intends to create a level playing field, it is also important to consider the experiences and opinions of the female athletes who have dedicated their lives to the sport. Hamilton’s boycott is a bold statement, and her message is resonating with many who share her concerns. The surf community is at a critical juncture, and it will be important for the WSL and the ISA to have a transparent and inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders as they navigate this complex issue.
In conclusion, the announcement by Bethany Hamilton has brought to the forefront the delicate and controversial issue of transgender athletes in competitive sports. The new guidelines set by the WSL and the ISA are designed to promote fairness and equity, but they are also causing concern among many female athletes. Hamilton’s boycott is a powerful statement that is drawing attention to the experiences and opinions of female athletes and the impact of the new rule on the sport of surfing. As the surf community moves forward, it will be important to have an open and inclusive dialogue to ensure that all athletes