#BoycottRipCurl Trends For TWO DAYS After Iconic Australian Surf Brand Boots Female Surfer For Trans-Identified Male

An Australian brand that specializes in swimwear for surfers has come under fire after bringing on a trans-identified male as one of their “female” brand ambassadors. Rip Curl’s controversial move comes just months after the company dropped Bethany Hamilton, a shark attack victim, for voicing her opposition to trans-identified males competing in female sporting competitions.

Rip Curl cut ties with Hamilton in November 2023, despite her status as one of the most celebrated female surfers in Australia and abroad. The decision came after Hamilton publicly opposed gender ideology policies which permit males to compete against women.

Last February, Hamilton shared two videos to her Instagram account questioning October 2022 guidelines adopted by the World Surf League, in accordance with the International Surfing Association, which granted males who claim a transgender status permission to compete against female athletes.

“Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? Is it as simple as this?” she asked. In her follow up video, she questioned the policy again. “Am I just a hormone number? Is it as simple as that?”

In her reaction to the new guidelines, Hamilton had also threatened to boycott the World Surf League, and has been outspoken in support of fairness in women’s sports on social media since.

On January 24, Rip Curl posted a video on their women-focused Instagram page, Rip Curl Women, which featured Sasha Jane Lowerson, a trans-identified male surfer.

In the description of the video, Rip Curl described Lowerson, 44, as “a West Australian waterwoman who loves the freedom found in surfing, disconnecting from the mainstream, and the feeling of dancing on constantly changing waves.”

Seemingly anticipating a flood of negative responses, Rip Curl locked their Instagram comments in an effort to limit discussion on their new ambassador.

Lowerson competed successfully in men’s surfing competitions prior to identifying as a “woman.”

“With a commitment to maintaining a positive space for all, we have disabled our comments. Thank you for your understanding,” the sportswear company added.

Lowerson drew criticism in 2022 after taking first in both the Open Women’s Longboard and Open Women’s Logger events at the West Coast Suspensions state championships. Just three years prior to competing in the women’s category, Lowerson, competing under the name Ryan Egan, had taken a top position in the men’s category.

Lowerson had previously celebrated the updated guidelines by World Surf League in February 2023 which permits men to compete in women’s swimming competitions if they reduce their testosterone below a level known to be much higher than what women naturally produce on average.

In advance of the ruling, Lowerson had already been competing in women’s competitions. In March 2022, Lowerson placed ninth in the Noosa Festival of Surfing, becoming the first “trans woman” to compete in surfing at the professional level. Two months later, he placed first in the Open Women’s and Women’s Logger divisions at the Western Australian State Titles. 

In an interview with THEM, a pro-trans publication, Lowerson said he began surfing many years ago but didn’t begin identifying as a woman until his 40s.

“I’ve been a professional longboard surfer for many years. And in that time, I hid in the closet basically. I tried to transition at 19 and again at 29. And now, in my early 40’s, I’ve been successful.”

Reacting to Lowerson being platformed by Rip Curl, many women online expressed anger that the brand would drop a disabled female surfer, only to then work with a male surfer who competes in female competitions.

Many women called for consumers to boycott the brand.

“Company @ripcurl hired a MAN to advertise their women’s line, rather than an amazing female athlete. Amazing. They hate women don’t they. Don’t buy anything from these people. #BoycottRipCurl,” one critic said on X.

“Imagine dropping an athlete that survived a shark attack and went onto be one of the best surfers in the world for a mentally ill Man competing in women’s surfing? Seriously Ripcurl? #BoycottRipCurl,” wrote another woman.

#BoycottRipCurl has been trending on X for the last two days as women continue to express their outrage.

Lowerson has made his Instagram account private following the backlash. However, Reduxx was able to obtain photos from the page showing Lowerson modeled sexually suggestive outfits with captions that related to his surfing career.

Since news of Lowerson’s partnership with Rip Curl first broke, female athletes have spoken out against the brand and in support of Hamilton.

Swimming Champion and activist for women’s sports Riley Gaines called out Rip Curl on X, encouraging her followers to boycott them.

In a follow-up post, Gaines stated: “Encouraging to see so many people reply that they’re throwing out their Rip Curl apparel and pledging not to buy from them again. I didn’t know people still wore Ripcurl anyways. RIP Rip Curl.”

Gaines has been outspoken against the inclusion of male athletes in female sports after she was forced to compete against Will “Lia” Thomas in the 200 freestyle final at the NCAA Women’s Championships in 2022. Gaines and Hamilton are expected to join forces to host a story hour for children on 2nd February in Springfield, Missouri to celebrate the launch of their new books, “Happy No Snakes Day” by Gaines and “Surfing Past Fear” by Hamilton. Trans activists are expected to protest the family event.

Skateboarder Taylor Silverman also chimed in to condem Rip Curl. Silverman has also been outspoken against males competing in female sports since voicing her own experience being displaced by males participating in women’s skateboarding.

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Shay Woulahan

Shay is a writer and social media content creator for Reduxx. She is a proud lesbian activist and feminist who lives in Northern Ireland with her partner and their four-legged, fluffy friends.

Shay Woulahan
Shay Woulahan
Shay is a writer and social media content creator for Reduxx. She is a proud lesbian activist and feminist who lives in Northern Ireland with her partner and their four-legged, fluffy friends.