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Star surfer slams new rule allowing men to compete against women: 'I personally won't be competing ... if this rule remains'
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Star surfer slams new rule allowing men to compete against women: 'I personally won't be competing ... if this rule remains'

One of the most well-known female surfers in the world has publicly slammed a recent decision by the World Surf League to allow men to compete as women.

Bethany Hamilton has been participating in international surfing competitions since at least 1998. In 2003, when she was just 13 years old, she lost her left arm after a tiger shark attacked her while she was practicing. Despite the significant setback, Hamilton quickly returned to the surfboard and the competitive circuit. She wrote about her experience and her deep, abiding Christian faith in an autobiography that inspired the 2011 film "Soul Surfer," starring Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, and Carrie Underwood.

Over the weekend, Hamilton, now 32 and a wife and mom of three, released a video message on Instagram criticizing the WSL's decision to allow so-called "transwomen" to compete against female surfers so long as their testosterone levels remain at or below 5 nmol/L for at least one year. WSL claimed that the rule change, which passed unanimously, now accords with "Olympic guidelines."

But Hamilton challenged the premise of such guidelines, proffering a series of questions that she believes have not been addressed by those advocating for men in women's sports. "Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female?" Hamilton wondered. "Is it as simple as this?"

Hamilton also asked, "How is this rule playing out in other sports, like swimming, running, and MMA?"

Finally, she addressed the larger issue at play: Who exactly is "pushing for" these changes and who benefits from them? According to Hamilton, it's not "the girls currently on tour," most of whom do not "support ... this new rule" but who do "fear being ostracized if they speak up."

Hamilton insisted in the video that she has "love for all of mankind, regardless of any differences" and that she thinks the best solution would be to offer "a different division" for so-called "transgender" competitors, "so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent." If WSL does not create a separate division, Hamilton fears that women's sports may be doomed within "15-20 years."

Because of her concerns, Hamilton affirms in the close of the video: "I personally won't be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains."

Though Hamilton has received a lot of criticism on social media, including accusations of "transphobia," she has also received an outpouring of support. Fellow surfer Shane Dorian responded, "Speak your truth ! Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe," while swimmer Riley Gaines Barker — who has spoken out against "trans" competitor Will Thomas, aka Lia Thomas — added, "THANK YOU for using your platform to share this. I can't express how inspiring this is."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →