"We take pride in our efforts to promote equality and inclusion."
Yesterday, an explosive rumor floated from a fine source that Bethany Hamilton had been axed from the World Surf League’s second annual International Women’s Day celebration. Oh, you’ll certainly recall last year when Championship Tour surfers donned competition singlets adorned with the names of inspirational women during the MEO Rip Curl Portugal Pro. A wonderful gesture and, of course, Hamilton’s name was chosen not once but thrice.
The Kauai native burst onto the scene after a devastating shark strike stole her arm as a young teen. But did she give up? No. She persevered and wow’d the world. Not a bad word could ever be said.
Fast forward a decade or two and Hamilton may be the most well-known surfer on earth though became frustrated by the WSL’s new trans-inclusionary policy. She voiced her opposition, vowed a boycott and received much support with even Chief of Executives Erik Logan saying he “respected her views.”
But did he really? For according to the aforementioned source, professional surfers had asked to wear her name and were told, pointedly, “not allowed.”
Well, the complete list has been released today and let us review.
2023 WSL International Women’s Day Honoree Selections:
Kolohe Andino (USA): Sydney McLaughlin
Jadson Andre (BRA): Victoria Barros
Jackson Baker (AUS): Carissa Moore
Teresa Bonvalot (POR): Patrícia Mamona
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR): Nawal El Moutawakel
Gabriela Bryan (HAW): Haven Shepherd
Macy Callaghan (AUS): Emma McKeon
Ryan Callinan (AUS): Poppy Starr Olsen
Joao Chianca (BRA): Tatiana Weston-Webb
Griffin Colapinto (USA): Janice Aragon
Courtney Conlogue (USA): Lisa Andersen
Johanne Defay (FRA): Laure Manaudou
Yago Dora (BRA): Hortência Marcari
Ethan Ewing (AUS): Helen Ewing
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA): Teresa Bonvalot
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS): Layne Beachley
John John Florence (HAW): Alex Florence
Ian Gentil (HAW): Amanda Nunes
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS): Susie O’Neill
Brisa Hennessy (CRC): Jimena Ruiz
Maxime Huscenot (FRA): Serena Williams
Caio Ibelli (BRA): Taliê Hanada
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN): Naomi Osaka
Ezekiel Lau (HAW): Melanie Bartels
Barron Mamiya (HAW): Moana Jones Wong
Caroline Marks (USA): Katie Ledecky
Matthew McGillivray (RSA): Bianca Buitendag
Sophie McCulloch (AUS): Jessica Watson
Jake Marshall (USA): Alyssa Spencer
Gabriel Medina (BRA): Marta
Seth Moniz (HAW): Kelia Moniz
Carissa Moore (HAW): Megan Abubo
Carlos Munoz (CRC): Frieda Zamba
Isabella Nichols (AUS): Rhiannan Iffland
Liam O’Brien (AUS): Pauline Menczer
Connor O’Leary (AUS): Akemi Karasawa
Lakey Peterson (USA): Venus Williams
Molly Picklum (AUS): Ash Barty
Miguel Pupo (BRA): Luisa Stefani
Samuel Pupo (BRA): Rayssa Leal
Jack Robinson (AUS): Amanda Nunes
Callum Robson (AUS): Cathy Freeman
Michael Rodrigues (BRA): Tita Tavares
Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW): Rell Sunn
Caitlin Simmers (USA): Nora Vasconcellos
Kelly Slater (USA): Margo Oberg
Jordy Smith (RSA): Natalie Du Toit
Filipe Toledo (BRA): Stephanie Gilmore
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA): Beatriz Haddad Maia
Rio Waida (INA): Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu
Tyler Wright (AUS): Sam Kerr
Nat Young (USA): Kerri Walsh Jennings
Alex Florence 1 Bethany Hamilton 0.
Now, while I understand why the World Surf League’s various chiefs might feel sad about Hamilton’s view re. them, but doesn’t cancellation smell vindictive?
Chief of Executives Logan said, “We take pride in our efforts to promote equality and inclusion, not only as a global organization, but also as a sport and community. Our commitment to equal prize money and combined Tour schedules is a holistic approach that propels our sport forward and sends a strong message to up-and-coming surfers worldwide. As a league, we strive to set an example for other sports and act as a channel for ongoing transformation.”
What about the equality and inclusion, though, of surf and TERFs?
An unprotected class?
Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer added, “We are deeply committed to equality and the progression of women’s surfing. Our athletes and the WSL recognize the importance of using our platform to celebrate the values that make us unique in the sporting world. It is with great pleasure that we celebrate International Women’s Day and honor the trailblazers who have paved the way for women. I am thrilled that our athletes have embraced this opportunity to use their voices to champion women’s sports.”
Notably missing from the entire list are any trans athletes.
Much mess in messaging.