Chas Smith responds to Boycott Rip Curl transgender furore!

"This debate has gotten dull because mob mentality is dull. Thinking flattens."

Over the last week, the pitchforks have come out for the once-iconic-but-now-discount wetsuit brand Rip Curl after a post celebrating the pioneering transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson.

The mob erupted after anti-trans-women-in-sport activist the swimmer Riley Gaines slammed Rip Curl as “crazzzyyyy”.

“You mean to tell me that Rip Curl dropped Bethany Hamilton for opposing men surfing in the women’s league then picked up male surfer who surfs in the women’s league as a women’s ambassador?” wrote Gaines, whose activism was ignited after the terrific success of Lia Thomas in the pool. 

Rip Curl and Bethany parted ways, it’s believed, because of Bethany’s opposition to trans-women in gals’ sports.

Calls to boycott Rip Curl quickly grew from a murmur to a worldwide raw.

Skateboarder Taylor Silverman joined in the chorus, unsparing in her criticism of the New Zealand-owned company.

“According to Boycott Rip Curl this man is a ‘waterwoman’…reality is he’s just a mentally ill man making a complete mockery of actual women and “The “community” is so supportive that Rip Curl had to disable the comments!”

For context, Sasha Jane Lowerson is a talented strawberry blonde goofyfooter of middle age who created history last year when she added the Western Australian women’s longboard trophy to her mantlepiece where it sits alongside the trophy she won when she was still Ryan Egan.

Rip Curl had joined two other Australian swimsuit brands in a pivot to the queer market describing their trans ambassador as, “West Australian waterwoman who loves the freedom found in surfing, disconnecting from the mainstream, and the feeling of dancing on constantly changing waves… It’s a state of mind, always being ready to try something new, curious to seek out knowledge and learn the rules – and break them.⁠”

Here, Chas Smith, who hates surfing, asks surfers to put aside the trans debate and Boycott Rip Curl hashtag for a moment and remember the truly oppressed, and sadly forgotten, victims of the once great wetsuit company.

Boycott Rip Curl etc.

Rumor: Celebrated surf show “Make or Break” back for third season!

Big if true.

The wildest, and most unexpected, of rumors floated across my astral plane today. So, there I was, early-ish morning, knowing that the World Surf League season kick-off, the Lexus Pipe Pro, was going to be called off because Kelly Slater told me it would but addiction gonna addict so there I was.

Watching Yeti commercials.

And that’s when it happened. My phone sparked to life with a message from an almost wholly reliable source declaring, “Heard some hints that Box to Box is back filming Make or Break but not for Apple TV.”

Wow and whoa.

But you certainly recall the behind-the-scenes streaming program, from the geniuses behind Drive to Survive, that showcased what happened when professional surfers stopped being polite and started being real. Surfing’s best, and only, historian Matt Warshaw declared it a “near-absolute triumph,” writing:

Zero chance the show will match Drive to Survive for viewer share. But with Make or Break we nonetheless have something that feels true to the sport (the tiny sliver of the sport that is competitive surfing, anyway), while also having the potential to be a modest hit in the general marketplace.

We have Tyler Wright and Gabe Medina, both of whom, to my admittedly biased eye, are more compelling personalities than any of the Drive to Survive gasoline alley hotshots.

We have women in general. Survive is a high-bred sausage party.

We have sharks, and while I appreciate the drama an apex predator brings to the table, I was both grateful and impressed that the producers chose not to overplay the shark fatality just prior to finals day at the 2020 Honolua Bay Maui Pro. The death was instead presented, correctly, as a trigger for the WSL’s quick and bold decision to move the event to Pipeline, where the women competed for the first time.

The show went dark before the Kelly Slater culling at Margaret River, but and again, rumors suggest it is back. The question is where? The World Surf League certainly has neither the money nor sense to air…

…oh, wait.

Days ago we learned that ESPN+, lovingly called “The Ocho,” was set to air a behind-the-scenes offering and might this be it?

If yes, a real fall from grace for Box to Box, which could not lose just a few short years ago, now doing something that ocho and a half people will see.

The poo poo touch, man.

I want to direct a streaming series about that.

Erik Logan’s ghost reaching from beyond the grave and cursing with hepatitis fingers.

More as the story develops.


Surfline cattily swats down Kelly Slater forecast for Lexus Pipe Pro!

"Much better conditions compared to previous days, but still not ideal."

Yesterday, the door officially opened on the World Surf League’s 2024 Championship Tour. The Lexus Pipe Pro, which kicks the season off, was not run, due poor conditions, but surf fans were thrilled by the appearance of surf great Kelly Slater looking at the models and declaring Wednesday would be an ideal day featuring triple-overhead bombs and ideal winds.

While the 11x champion knows much about much, including horticulture, cartography and Ayurvedic medicine, he likely knows most about waves. His forecast included tidbits about swell interval and what it meant plus why.

A glorious epistemology.

And yet not all parties were thrilled. Surfline is, you know, the World Surf League’s official forecasting partner and the Huntington Beach-based team was clearly peeved by having Slater do its job. Today, in an act of cattiness not seen since Vanderpump Rules, Surfline’s Jonathan Warren declared:

WEDNESDAY 31st: 8-12’+ faces AM, easing to 6-10’ faces PM. Decent conditions.

SWELL/SURF: Fading shorter/mid-period WNW swell. Biggest early, with double overhead+ sets still rolling in with fair+ consistency, occasionally bigger. Decreasing a notch or two into the afternoon. This swell will remain broken up with shifty peaks, especially as a new/secondary N-NNE swell builds in. Should see opportunity at both Pipe and Backdoor throughout the day. Much better conditions compared to previous days, but still not ideal.

WIND: Light+ offshore easterly wind early to mid-morning, becoming moderate from the ENE late morning into the afternoon.

Decent conditions? Not ideal?


Warren went on to share a fairly bleak outlook with “low quality” surf malingering through the entire waiting period. Will last year’s wave curse plague the World Surf League once again?

Or will Kelly magic reign?


New John John and Nathan Florence edit a “Machiavellian play” on day one of Lexus Pipe Pro

The question John John asks us all: why shouldn’t this be the life he leads? Hasn’t he done enough already?

I was cruising youtube early this morning to see if Pipe had kicked off, when a new Nathan Florence video popped up in my feed.

Only 24 minutes old. Less than 2000 views. For one of the world’s most popular surf youtubers, this was primo content. As fresh and immediate as if you were sitting next to Nathan Florence himself while he uploaded it.

You gotta love it.

Remember when you’d wait months, even years to see footage of your favourite surfers? Now it’s delivered fresh into your tv or smartphone. For free. The day it happens. There’s no finer endorsement of the connection and intimacy allowed by the technological advantages of this internet age.

We should still burn it all down, of course. It’s the classic double-edged sword. The Faustian pact we’ve signed, sacrificing community and culture and art, in exchange for access and sheer volume of content…

But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I want to talk about the Florences.

Let’s start with Nathan Florence. I’ve written of my love for the wispy haired prodigy previously,

In that piece I wondered how he might raise the bar again. Well here he is, with brother John John in tow, chasing down a mutated, backless right reef slab somewhere in the Solomon Islands.

Obsidian tsunamis exploding up and over deathly shallow reef. No entry point. No exit, either. But there are insane, mind-bending barrels  to be had, somewhere in the middle. And if there was anybody who could get into them, it would be the brothers John John and Nathan Florence.

Essential, as my tabloid-courting mentor would say.

But the story doesn’t end there. Could the timing of this release be a Machiavellian play by the wildly talented duo? A thinly veiled show of hand to the WSL  – and the world – of John John’s true intentions for his career?

Many have speculated on his increasingly tenuous link to professional competitive surfing.The invite from brother Nate to join him on the world slab tour.

Now we have the two of them dropping the most ultimate of slab clips on day one of the pipe waiting period.


I won’t claim credit for the connection. It was pointed out first by Aint That Swell.

Florence brothers

But it sure is a doozy.

Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC TV, aired a cracker of a  documentary last night. Titled “Nemesis” it was a behind the scenes look at the machinations of Australia’s previous federal government, led by the conservative Liberal National Party coalition.

It was a masterclass in the art of political maneuvering, all in their own words. There were lies. Deception. Backstabbing. Political plotting that would make Frank Underwood look like an amateur.

Seemingly innocuous events being meticulously planned and strategically executed to reveal the player’s true position, only with the benefit of hindsight.

You’d be mad to think if there wasn’t some of that at play here.

It would be classic JJF. Classy, dignified. He can knowingly wash his hands of any direct claims of criticism towards the current tour. But it’s just as powerful in what it’s not saying as what it is.

The question he asks us all, without having to say a word: why shouldn’t this be the life he leads? Hasn’t he done enough already?

With Carissa and Steph already pulling their respective pins, surely Jon Jon is laying the groundwork for his own retirement call.

How long do you reckon he’s got left?

I’m calling retirement after winning Gold at the Olympics, so make sure you use him in your Surfvival team early. At least I think that’s how it works.

Bethany Hamilton on trans furore at Rip Curl
Bethany Hamilton, former marquee surfer for Rip Curl, reiterates her position on trans-gals in women's sports.

Bethany Hamilton breaks silence on transgender furore engulfing discount wetsuit brand Rip Curl

“Male-bodied athletes should not be competing in female sports. Period.”

Who coulda picked it? The discount wetsuit brand Rip Curl dumps a disabled surfer for her trans-women-in-sports take, scoops up recently transitioned gal and celebrates the move on Instagram.

Shortly after, the hashtag @BoycottRipCurl goes viral.

A firestorm reminiscent of T-Girl Dylan Mulvaney’s takedown of Budweiser. 

(The story of how Mulvaney broke Budweiser, the beer of choice for those who can’t decide between water and alcohol, is legend. Bud sent Mulvaney a custom can with her face on it. This was part of a campaign to celebrate her “365 days of womanhood.” Conservatives took to social media to express their outrage. They were joined by a chorus of voices who felt that Bud Light had betrayed their duty to be as bland and inoffensive as possible.)

Ha, ha etc.

Anyway, as Chas wrote earlier the hashtag @BoycottRipCurl hashtag was trending at number one for a while there on X.

“Yes, #BoycottRipCurl has leaped past the numerical mark of roughly 7000 tweets required for ‘trending’ with over 18,000, and counting, the wetsuit and soft good manufacturer’s name in lights.”

It had started to back off a little, as things do in this fast-paced world, until Bethany Hamilton, the disabled girl dumped by Rip Curl for the T-shredder Sasha Jane Lowerson, made a short post on X rekindling the outrage.

“Male-bodied athletes should not be competing in female sports. Period,” wrote Bethany.

The tweet was viewed boy 400k users, liked 13k times, reposted 1.6k times and hit an astonishing 532, and growing, comments.

“Sad that this even has to be said. Thank you for speaking up for female athletes,” wrote the activist Taylor Silverman.

“Your voice is important in surfing. Thank you from me,” wrote the world champion surfer Ian Cairns, whose own fountain of testosterone shows no sign of abating even in his seventh decade. “But more importantly thank you from every little girl catching her first wave. Pressure needs to land on @ISAsurfing and @wsl to change their position on this issue. International Athletics is in the Olympics but has a biological woman policy only.”

From others:

When men & boys are allowed to compete against women & girls, it completely defeats the purpose of having female categories. It’s cheating

What Rip Curl did to you, and who they replaced you with, is despicable.

When a category was opened for people who identify as trans to swim in, no one registered. It is about validation for these men, it is about taking what is women’s. Human beings cannot change sex, so everyone can follow the same rules and compete against their sex. Men’s categories are usually open to all anyway, it is just that due to the male advantage women are not a threat to them in sports.

Interestingly, Bethany took a little heat herself for using the words “Male-bodied” to describe men.

Why are you participating in the doublespeak language takeover? Men should not be in womens sports. Women cannot become men no matter what surgery or medications they take.

What is “male-bodied athletes”?

“Male” is fine.

I appreciate you using your large presence to speak out. But What the hell is a “male-bodied” athlete? Don’t stutter. Just say it.

And, over on Riley Gaines’ initial tweet about Rip Curl word from a T-Girl who don’t buy into the trans-women-in-sport game.

Anti-trans gals in sports meme posted in light of Rip Curl furore.
Anti-trans gals in sports meme posted in light of Rip Curl furore.

TBH, the whole invasion into women sports does not make sense.

We, transwomen, spend a huge amount of efforts to become as close to biological women as we can. It is a very difficult path full of suffering. And then some of us attempt to grab a low hanging fruit of winning against women in sports using our advantage.
a) It is a part of our male body past. We were trying to get rid of it and now use it for benefits?
b) We have chosen extremely difficult path and suddenly chose to go an easy cheating way to victory?

Trans people should participate in either social sport events, open category or our own categories. Invading female category is the same as participating in a wrong weight category for an advantage.

Very interesting, yes?

More importantly, anyone else get ’emselves a new Flash Bomb at these wild new prices?