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RipCurl Faces Backlash After Promoting Trans Surfer Instead of Bethany Hamilton

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Rip Curl, an iconic surf brand, is under fire after featuring a transgender female-identifying competitive surfer on a now-deleted Instagram post promoting women's surfing last week.

The Australia-based surf brand made a quick move last Thursday to remove its post featuring 44-year-old trans surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson from its "Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia" campaign.

The image of the Western Australian professional longboarder, who identifies as female, did not sit well with Rip Curl's customers, especially after news that it severed ties with Christian pro-surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton–allegedly over her opposition to transgender females competing in women's sport.

In January 2022, Hamilton had signed on to a five-year, six-figure contract with the organization, Stab Magazine reports.

But last February, the 33-year-old vocalized her opposition to the World Surf League's decision to adopt the International Surfing Association (ISA) policy on transgender participation in the sport. 

The Christian sports icon said in an Instagram reel video that although she doesn't have any issue with transgender people, allowing biological men to compete against women is unfair. 


"This concerns me as a professional athlete that has been competing in the World Surf League events for the past 15-plus years," Hamilton said.

"I think many of the girls currently on tour are not in support with this new rule and they fear being ostracized if they speak up," she explained. 

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Hamilton did suggest that the World Surf League create a separate division for transgender surfers. 

"We are seeing glimpses of male-bodied dominance in women's sports like running, swimming, and others," Hamilton added. "I personally won't be competing in, or supporting, the World Surf League if this rule remains."

Hamilton recently doubled down on her stance writing on X Monday, "Male-bodied athletes should not be competing in female sports. Period."

Many have backed Hamilton, including Rip Curl customers who have slammed the brand for promoting Lowerson. Additionally, the hashtag #BoycottRipCurl was trending on X Monday.

"Imagine, dropping a phenomenal professional surfer, who survived a shark biting her arm off, only to replace her with a man who pretends to be a woman. Guess what my followers and I will be doing? We will all #BoycottRipCurl" wrote an X user. 

"Bethany is an icon. She's better without this company," posted a supporter on Instagram.

"There will be No one better than Bethany to represent women in women's surfing - RIP Rip Curl," added another.

Other customers have also decided to boycott the brand. 

"Taking my money elsewhere. Why do you hate women?" one follower asked.

"Rip Curl was always one of my favorite brands in this industry, bummer I'll never spend another dime with em," posted another.

"RIP for me rip curl!!! Not supporting anymore!" added another.

"Hahahaha Ripcurl suddenly knows what a woman is," wrote Riley Gaines on X after company took down its trans post. "They've also since deleted all posts promoting a male surfer posing as a woman after dropping Bethany Hamilton. They want you to forget about their contempt for women. Don't."

Lowerson previously competed in the men's surfing division under the name Ryan Egan until he began his transition in 2021, Outkick reports.

The surf athlete cited "fears of rejection and even the threat of violence" from participating in the women's side of the sport after transitioning. 

Surfing will be featured as a new sport at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

CBN News has reached out to Rip Curl for comment. We will add it here if we hear back. 

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.