‘Soul Surfer’ says there’s a sole gender she’ll compete against

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Bethany Hamilton, the pro surfer whose story of overcoming the loss of an arm in a shark attack inspired a 2011 movie —as well as countless women and girls who compete in various sports — says she will not compete against biological males.

As first reported by the Christian Post, last week on Instagram, Hamilton criticized the World Surf League’s decision to allow transgender athletes to compete in the opposite division of their sex.

“How is this rule playing out in other sports, like swimming, running, and MMA?” Hamilton wrote. “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? Should there be a conversation?”

Hamilton said she was speaking out for herself and other women who felt they could not for fear of being ostracized.

“I personally think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent,” Hamilton wrote, “and I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15-20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change.”

She added, “I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains.”

Hamilton was one of two prominent surfing names to recommend a separate division for transgender athletes.

According to Beach Grit, a surfing-centric news website, legendary male surfer Kelly Slater made a similar recommendation.


To say that Hamilton’s stance was ill-received by the pro-transgender community would be an understatement. Some social media personalities responded by celebrating the tragedy that resulted in Hamilton losing an arm, some 20 years after the fact. Per a different Beach Grit article, some went so far as to call the shark an “ally.”

Such antics are no doubt the product of immature and maladjusted individuals, but they are demonstrative of just how utterly melodramatic and severe the mood swings of ideologues can be when their views are challenged.

Hamilton seems to have not taken the remarks too seriously, at least not according to her social media activity. Her most recent tweet was a meme containing the phrase “When you post something controversial right before you go to bed.”

The Christian Post reported that the World Surf League had adopted its policy from a similar rule created by the International Surfing Association.

It’s possible that the policy in question will change, but it is not clear if and in what direction. According to a report from The Inertia, an outdoor lifestyle website, WSL Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer said the policy could evolve based on feedback.

Hamilton has participated in major surf competitions since at least 1998. In 2003, she lost her arm when she was attacked by a shark. Her recovery and ascension to the heights of the sport were the inspiration of the 2011 movie “Soul Surfer.”