"It's pretty noisy in the surf world this week. I’m just weathering out the storm."
A little over two weeks since the WSL tentatively opened the door for transgender gals to compete at the highest level and Kelly Slater and Bethany Hamilton responded with a call for a “trans-only division”, the sport’s only transgender surfer has responded in a candid new interview.
You’ll rememberer the arrival of Sasha Jane Lowerson, a forty five year old as full of juice as warm ripe fruit, on the women’s longboard scene last year when she dominated the women’s div, adding trophy upon trophy to her groaning mantelpiece.
Lowerson bloomed into womanhood in 2020 shortly after winning the men’s longboard div as Ryan Egan and didn’t look back.
“Trans-girls aren’t going to take over the world, we just want to be included, we’re humans too,” Lowerson said. “I’ve been hiding in this male shell up… for 42 years. To still be made to be that guy that I’m not, it’s shattering,”
The WSL officially allows trans-women to compete so long as they’ve been a gal for at least twelve months and their hormone levels are less than 5 nanomoles per liter continuously for the previous 12 months (biological men hover between 10 and 35, bio-gals under three).
“The WSL is working hard to balance equity and fairness and it’s important for a policy to be in place,” the WSL’s newly anointed Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer told the oft-controversial adult learner surfer website The Inertia. “We recognize that the policy may need to evolve over time as we get feedback and see new research in the field.”
The world’s most inspirational surfer Bethany Hamilton opened a Pandora’s Box, however, when she recorded a piece to camera damning the policy.
Hamilton said she was speaking for tour surfers who felt muzzled, agreed with Kelly Slater who called for a trans-only div and said she’d boycott events if it went ahead.
“Speak your truth!” wrote the big-wave legend Shane Dorian. “Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe. Don’t listen to people who hurl the word transphobic at anyone who’s beliefs don’t align perfectly with theirs. These are complicated problems with no clear solution. Regardless, there are many people who love and support the trans community who agree with you on these issues…Less than 1% of people think this policy reflects fairness. Quite the opposite.”
Since the middle-aged logger Lowerson is the only transgender surfer doin’ the contest rounds and good as she is on the nine-footers she ain’t exactly a threat to Carissa Moore it does make opposition about it all feel a little confected.
“It’s pretty noisy in the surf world this week. We’ve got a lot of the far right just going mental. I’m just weathering out the storm. The positive side of it is the number of allies that have popped their head up just in the past 24 hours for me. The women who have stood up and said, ‘We’ve surfed against Sasha, and she’s awesome’ and ‘regardless of gender, she’s an amazing surfer.’ One girl said, ‘She smashed me in one final, and then I got her in the next, and it’s no different than surfing with any other girl.; It’s just weathering the storm of bigotry at the moment, and having good allies who are willing to stand up with us.”
The main culprits, the bigots, said Lowerson are, “middle-aged men. It’s all the same as it was a year ago, and ten months ago. I‘m sure it’s gonna get pretty loud in a month when I actually have a world surf league jersey on at the start of March.”
Or are you team Geena Rocero, a Playboy centrefold in 2019?