Transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, inspirational and glamorous.
Transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, inspirational and glamorous.

Shock twist in transgender women in surfing furore, “We were ambushed by Sasha Jane Lowerson!”

“We were ambushed by Sasha Jane Lowerson and Sabrina Brennan from Surf Equity. They had a plan to destroy and create chaos."

Tears and jeers and whatever else two weeks back when it was claimed surfing’s only transgender competitor Sasha Jane Lowerson had been banned from entering the women’s div of a longboard contest in Huntington Beach. 

Sasha Jane Lowerson, as I like to remind you backward bastards, was one of Australia’s leading male longboarders, even winning the men’s longboard div as Ryan Egan before transitioning four years ago and joining the women’s side of the draw, enjoying much success and approval etc.

American Longboarding’s Todd Messick isn’t real into the trans schtick, howevers.

In a piece to camera on X on April 25, he said he was going to support “biological males and biological females in their divisions respectively. If you were born a female, you enter in the women’s. If you’re born a male, you enter in the men’s”. 

Sasha Jane Lowerson, who was fresh from facial feminisation surgery in Cordoba, Argentina, a radical procedures that gussies up the hard-edged male face and turns it into something real pretty, posted a lengthy screed on Instagram calling Messick’s decision “shameful and shady”.

As I walk my journey through the turmoil and the implications of people that want to spread misinformation, I’ve found myself wondering why? Just why to people hate me for existing!

And, in a long piece, the LA Times wrote, “Sasha Jane Lowerson just wanted to surf.“

But now! Oh yes, now! 

Messick has gone back on X to explain that Sasha Jane Lowerson…didn’t…produce any paperwork showing her WSL/ISA-approved levels of T, which is still double that of a pre-menopausal female, and that all of us media schmucks were fooled by that freewheeling game of intersectionality  warfare that renders most of us mute.

“You’ve all been lied to, each and every one of you,” says Messick. 

“Every news channel, every agency, every report that’s been pushing on this has lied to you. And there’s an agenda, there’s a false narrative going on by the 1%. We’ve been ambushed.

“We were ambushed by Sasha Jane Lowerson and Sabrina Brennan from Surf Equity. They had a plan, they had a setup, and the reality is it was meant to destroy and create chaos and create division and confusion. 

“And I’m here to clarify any kind of confusion.

“We made a statement on the 25th of April stating that we were in line with the ISA and WSL policies, and that we also demanded that if you were a biological male or female, that you’d enter into your own classes, respectively. We asked that Sasha Jane Lowerson provide us the paperwork, her or any other trans athlete that wanted to enter our event…

“We heard a lot of complaints, there was a lot of lies being put out about what was and wasn’t said. And I’m here to assure everybody that we have made an equal, open playing field for all athletes and that you as a transgender athlete, if you qualify with those guidelines under ISA-WSL  policy, that you would qualify.

“Let me just make clear that we made  our statement for the protection of female athletes, for mothers, daughters,  granddaughters, for the future and the well-being and the protection of females. Period. There is no other reason that we’re doing this. Okay?  So for anybody to spin this around, turn this around, saying that we’re doing this for this, that, or the other, it’s for equality. It’s for acceptance as human beings.  

“Now this trans agenda that’s going down is absolutely absurd in my opinion. It is not science. It is not fact. We’re going off of emotions and what people identify as. Listen, I can identify as the man of the moon and until I can prove paperwork that would  say otherwise, I’m a human being. I‘m a biological male. That’s science, that’s fact as much as I choose to think otherwise.  

“So that’s how we’re sticking at it. The ISA-WSL rules allow testosterone levels two times higher than the average pre-menstrual  (actually pre-menopausal) female. That’s unacceptable and that’s unfair. So what we’re demanding, what we’re changing, our new policy, is we’re asking that the WSL, ISA and the Olympic Committee all follow this policy.  

“It falls right in line with the California Athletic Commission saying that if you’re a transgender athlete,  you would have had to be in hormonal therapy  for two years under the radar and that your levels must be equal  to the average premenstrual (pre-menopausal) female. Now that is accurate and that is fair. Equal to, equal to, okay?  

“And for the record, for a biological male to get to that level, it is almost impossible.  And for that reason, we are putting this into play and into writing to state the fact that the strength advantage and that alone is the reason why this whole controversy is in effect.  

“So you take out the strength, you take out that testosterone down to a level where it’s  equal to a female, then that’s an equal playing field.  And until we get to an equal playing field, there’s no reason to continue to talk about  this until we start seeing athletes that actually qualify under this agenda, under these regulations, there’s nothing to talk about. We keep spinning this whole thing out and this narrative and all it is doing is creating division.

“Please do not be distracted by these news channels that are trying to  destroy us, that are trying to keep us confused, okay?”

Well? Fair play?

And what next in this sexy lil saga?


California driver (pictured) kooking it.
California driver (pictured) kooking it.

Surf journalist delivers conclusive findings that California drivers are worst in nation

A hellscape like no other.

I have just arrived home, at the ballet studio in San Diego’s Kearny Mesa, after a 2000 mile journey over 2.75 days. Beginning in Nashville, Tennessee, in the trusty Volkswagen that brought me to Vanderbilt some two years ago, I retraced steps to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma then pushed past Albuquerque, New Mexico to Gallup before ending here. I passed through Arkansas, Texas and Arizona only stopping for gasoline and sundries.

Along the way, I have reached the definitive scientific conclusion that California drivers are the worst in the entire nation. In Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and even Arizona (though things start to go very wrong in the Grand Canyon State), slow drivers will generally stick to the slow (right) lane, only venturing left to pass. Sometimes, as happens to all of us, a driver will drift left and become preoccupied though dart right when run up on. Semi-trucks (or tractor trailers/big rigs depending on preferred vernacular) are a clear danger, in these states, deriving clear pleasure from passing each other as slow as possible and sometimes shooting retread tires at cars though they are all likely methamphetamine addicted and best to ignore.

Once in California, however, all hell breaks loose. Drivers will plant in the leftmost lane driving 20 mph under the speed limit for no obvious reason and will absolutely not move not matter how close another car gets to tail. Others, enjoying social media on their phones, will slow to the slowest speeds before jerking faster. Many are terrified, gripping the wheel with both hands while also going slow. Everyone is absolutely, ridiculously selfish. Driving exactly how they want simply because it is exactly how they want.

It is a hellscape the Golden State’s surfers must regularly negotiate and while annoying in the moment, becomes absolutely enraging when comparing it to drivers in disgraced former World Surf League Erik Logan’s home.

What then to do?

How to teach freeway lessons from San Diego to San Francisco?

All suggestions welcome.


Surfer (pictured) unwashed and generally gross.
Surfer (pictured) unwashed and generally gross.

San Francisco billionaire locked in epic battle to keep “unwashed and generally gross” surfers off beach

Let them surf cake.

California, home to nearly 40 million souls, has long embraced open beach access to all. It is generally illegal to block access to those wishing to come build sandcastles or lovingly splash in the sometimes temperate waters. The state’s Coastal Commission has laws and whatnot on the books declaring such but that has not stopped the ultra-wealthy from trying.

Now, usually this business occurs in Malibu where multi-million dollar homes front the iconic sands and certain of their owners try to build fences, and such, to keep interlopers out. Up San Francisco way, though, as case has rolled all the way up to the United Supreme Court and back down again with no resolution thus far.

It features the very handsome Indian-American venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, his 32 million dollar estate and Martins Beach, just south of Half Moon Bay. The co-founder of Sun Microsystems purchased the property in 2008 and immediately built a fence blocking beach access to surfers, likely imagining them unwashed and generally gross. The Surfrider Foundation immediately sued and the two parties fought through the legal system to Washington D.C. where the SCOTUS refused to hear such a squabble and let the lower ruling stand, which favored Surfrider.

Khosla, unsatisfied, has asked the judge to vacate that decision but the judge has refused thereby, I think, reopening the whole business and keeping surfers out until all appeals etc. are finished.

Or maybe I’m reading it wrong.

In any case, if you had a oceanfront castle would you try to block your fellow surfer from paddling?

The BeachGrit way.

More as the story develops.


Erin Brooks takes the world by storm at Narrabeens surf contest.
The world goes nuts, again, for lil Erin Brooks, sixteen and ready to hit the big leagues.

Canadian surf sensation Erin Brooks signals intent to spearhead generational change on pro tour!

"The female version of Medina is born."

Canadian surf prodigy Erin Brooks has closed off a dominant Aussie leg of the Challenger Series in Sydney with a second-place finish, a big rankings lead and a declaration she’ll be spearheading generational on the women’s Championship Tour.

After winning the first CS event of the season and stunning the world with best barrel ever by a woman, Brooks slaughtered the field in the GWM Sydney Surf Pro with her signature combination of quick snaps, solid airs and big Bible camp energy.

Every post-heat interview began with her high-pitched thanks to the Almighty for letting her wreak mayhem in her heat.

Ronnie Blakey went straight for the jugular in her podium interview, asking Erin Brooks whether she would compete on the CT next year if she wins a spot.

She grinned with all 28 perfect teeth and said she would “definitely take up the opportunity”.

As one viewer put it in the comments framing vision of her near-540, “The female version of Medina is born.”

 

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Dear reader,

Erin Brooks needs only one more decent result out of four remaining events to lock her place on the 2025 CT.

Barring injury, it’s a given.

When it does happen, we can look forward to the great rivalry between Brooks and Oceanside’s Caitlin Simmers, one that will come with a stark contrast between Caity’s awkward yet iconic stonerish murmurings and Erin’s even more awkward enthusiastic Christian youth group-themed gushings.

The interviewers had their angles on Erin Brooks locked in from the word go, knowing exactly what line of questioning would get her to drop squeaky gems of innocence.

Stace Galbraith put on a masterclass at Snapper, asking Brooks about her love of the Aussie arcade chain Timezone and, when she won, prompting her to spill the beans on her dad’s plan to “take me and my friends out for pizza!!!”

As for her surfing, the highlight in Sydney was Brooks’ near 540 in the semifinals, surely one of the better airs landed by a lady in competition.

She couldn’t recapture the magic during the final, but she succeeded in freaking out her opponent by boosting on section after section at the close of the heat, knowing a single completion could steal the win in the dying seconds.

And who was that opponent, the one who took out the event? Brooks’ bff/’big sister’/roommate Isabella Nicholls (who, Brooks says, absolutely rules the Timezone Pop-A-Shot nets).

Nicholls managed to win the final with good wave selection and solid backhand hacks, making up for her meh performance against Sally Fitz in the semis. Nicholls victory puts her in second place on the CS rankings and on course to requalify for the 2025 CT season.

Meanwhile, local surfer Jordy Lawler and Brazilian vet Alejo Muniz revived their broken CT dreams with their best ever results on the CS. Jordy Lawler said he was on the point of giving up the chase for qualification after missing out on a fulltime place on the CS this year.

Thanks to a wildcard entry into the event at his local break of North Narrabeen, Lawler was able to dominate and win with his tweaked-out airs and smooth hacks. The North Narrabeen Boardriders roared their approval as their latest favourite son pulled out big scores at the buzzer time and time again. Lawler is now all but guaranteed wildcard places in the remaining CS events, giving him a solid chance at qualifying for the CT for the first time at the harvest years age of 29.

A casual fan might be tempted to gossip that the WSL had given the judges a memo to favour the local guys, what with Mikey McDonagh tearfully taking out the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Snapper earlier this month. Of course, if you actually watched either event you’d have seen that neither of them needed any help from crooked judges: they smashed it out of the park on their own merits, albeit buoyed by local support and knowledge of their home breaks.

Alejo Muniz similarly missed out on qualifying for the CS via the usual pathway of the regional QS, but received a wildcard from the WSL that got him back in with a chance. Muniz’s backhand power surfing took out CS standout Sammy Pupo in the quarters and elder brother Miggy Pupo in the Semis. Muniz kept close in the final and was well deserving of the second-place finish.

The Challenger Series is on a break now until the Ballito Pro in early July, but what a start it’s been. If you’ve been suffering your way through the start of the CT season, watching the boring Days 1 and 2 (where they take 24 heats to knock out just 6 surfers), enduring the crap conditions they’ve been making the surfers compete it (especially the poor women), maybe give the CS a look next time it’s on. The waves generally aren’t any worse, every heat matters, the talent pool is deep and there’s real excitement to be found in watching people grab hold of the dream of CT qualification.

Did you watch the Sydney Surf Pro?

Did you rue the lack of a BG comments board on which to lavish your observations/shitposts?

Did you not watch but have opinions anyway?


iconic noosa beach shack for sale
Kimbo's pretty blue beach shack, fifty steps from the sand and eighty clicks of empty surf.

Iconic Aussie beach shack owned by surf legend and fronting 80km of pristine beach lists for $US1 million

Gorgeous almost-beachfront shack owned by Australian champion and former hunter of Great Whites!

In one of the rarest opportunities you’ll find in the wildly inflated Australian property market, an almost-beachfront shack has hit the market for around one mill US. 

The former surfing champion Kim McKenzie, who is known as the Mooloolaba Shark Girl ‘cause she worked with her daddy maintaining the government’s shark meshing program in the seventies, has listed her colourful weatherboard joint at 13 Mackerel St on Noosa’s North Shore. 

The two-bedder on six thousand square feet of sand, fifty steps from the water, is painted various shades of blue and is decorated with life preservers, paddles, and lobster pot floats, all the detritus from a life at sea.

iconic aussie beach shack
iconic Noosa beach shack

Noosa’s North Shore is that eighty-click stretch of sand, which takes in the famous Double Island Point, surf that before you die, across the Noosa river from Noosa itself. 

If you want to solitude and empty waves, well, here’s your chance. Fifteen minutes boat ride and you’re in the relative madness of Noosa Heads. 

Kim McKenzie, it must be added, is as firmly embedded in Australian surfing folklore as anyone.

In an excellent 1974 Tracks interview, archived by the ever diligent Matt Warshaw,  John Grissom wrote: 

Recently, when word of her reputation as a sportswoman and “sharkie” reached the publicity-conscious government agencies responsible for promoting Australia abroad, Kim was written up in a series of press handouts released through Aussie consulates overseas. The article, together with her picture, appeared in a score of newspapers in a dozen languages throughout Europe, the Middle East and India. She is known today around the world as the Shark Lady of Australia and in fact has received many letters so addressed from readers everywhere (though she’s quick to add she’s not the only woman sharkie). Ironically she has gone largely unnoticed in her homeland—and she’s quite happy to leave it that way. She’s not interested in stardom, let alone sensationalism.

But it is hard NOT to be sensational about someone with those credentials. Still, I had no idea what to expect when a couple of weeks ago on a sultry afternoon I stepped off the plane to meet Kim. She was barefoot and wearing corduroy shorts and a colorful peasant blouse over her bikini — along with a white shell necklace and a floppy wide-brimmed straw hat. Minutes later I was sitting in the passenger seat of her in her blue high-performance Toyota Celica LT, (complete with mag wheels, four-on-the-floor and black-primed bullet nosed side view mirrors on Swiss cheese mounts), listening to Carly Simon and James Taylor wail through “Mockingbird” at high volume on the eight-track, and heading for Caloundra for a quick surf (her second of the day).

Kim had already done a four-hour shark run that morning. PLUS — as we loped along the backstretch at an easy 60mph, she laid out this very together rap about her background, her job, life in a small town and the people around her. No nervous laughter, no games, no flirtation, no jive — just upfront and straight ahead.

It was Sunday afternoon and the pleasant two-to-three foot beachbreak at King’s was crowded but Kim found no difficulty getting waves. No one dropped in on her.

And, from a 1975 edition of the New York Daily News,

Kim McKenzie is the Australian women’s surfing champion. That’s what she does for fun. How she makes a living is something else. During working hours, the husky 5-foot-9 blonde is the official shark catcher for the State of Queensland, hauling in an average of 350 saw-toothed monsters a year.

Kim is a 24-year-old who grew up in a beach village called Mooloolaba, which is fronted by the Great Barrier Reef. She is nonchalant about her unusual and dangerous profession.

“My father is a boat builder,” she explains in her heavy accent, “so I always went fishing with him and helped him build boats. I was terrible in school; I could never pass anything—I just wanted to be around the water, so I quit before I got kicked out. When the shark contract came up four years ago, we bid on it and got it. Our job is to protect the swimmers at certain beaches. Now my father’s stopped doing it, and I’m the skipper myself.”

Kim traps the majority of the sharks in 600-foot nets placed outside the bathing area. Sharks trapped in the nets are usually dead by the time Kim and her mate bring them in. She also sets 27 drum lines with bait each day. The hooked sharks usually remain alive. Kim kills them with powerheads that contain 12-gauge shotgun shells.

Although Kim appears totally unfazed by daily encounters with all sizes and shapes of sharks, she has a healthy respect for her prey.

“The first shark my father and I caught was a Great White,” she recalls. “We brought it on board thinking it was dead, but it wasn’t. It lashed around with its tail and knocked me against the wheelhouse. I was stunned and bleeding; my father was hurt worse. Finally we hung it off the side of the boat and shot it. Since then I have never brought a shark on a boat again until I was sure it was dead.”

“Sharks are definitely a threat to swimmers in Australia,” she continues. “I never swim alone or at night. Sharks prowl at night. I have a surfing friend who was attacked by a shark at dusk while he was on his board. His friends came to his aid, but he was badly mangled. I always surf at mid-day with plenty of people around.”

Kim picks up about seven or eight Great Whites (you remember the star of Jaws) a year.

“They are definitely the most dangerous,” she says. “I saw Jaws and I can see why people would be frightened by it, but most of the movie was inaccurate, as far as a shark’s behavior goes.”

Kim became Australia’s women’s surfing champion, a title she has held the past two years, on her days off from shark catching. Now she is preparing for the Smirnoff World Pro-Am Surfing Championship in Hawaii month, in which she and other women surfers will compete against men.

“I like competing against men,” she states. “I have a better time with them. I get too nervous with the girls. But no, I can’t beat the really good men. No girls can just yet. Maybe in another 10 years, but certainly not now.”

Kim, who is single, lives with some mates, as she calls her friends, and a Great Dane, and is in the process of building a beach house with her own hands in her hometown of Mooloolaba.

“I prefer American men to Australians,” she says definitely. “Australia is a man’s country and the men are male chauvinists, to say the least. American men are much more polite and thoughtful. Maybe someday I’ll get married, but so far most men end up boring me.”

“I’ll never get rich from surfing or shark catching,” shrugs Kim McKenzie, who combines a hair-raising vocation with a merely dangerous avocation, “but I don’t care. My only ambition is to be happy. Things always turn out good for me, so I’ll always be happy.”\

Buy her joint here.