Riley Gaines, Taylor Silverman blast Rip Curl Women for ad boosting trans surfer after dropping Bethany Hamilton as brand ambassador

Hamilton was dropped from the brand after stating that men should not compete in women’s sports.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
Surfing brand Rip Curl tapped a trans-identified biological male to promote its women's surf wear after terminating world-famous surfer Bethany Hamilton as its brand ambassador and women athletes spoke out loud and clear.

Former college swimmer Riley Gaines, who competed against male swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA women's swimming championships in 2022, slammed the iconic brand for putting a man at the front of their ad campaign for Rip Curl Women. Skateboarder Taylor Silverman, who lost out on prize money in skating competitions after men entered the women's competitions, also blasted the brand.

Hamilton, who became a notable surfer after surving a shark attack which left her with one arm, was dropped from the iconic Australian brand after sharing a simple stance: men should not be allowed to compete in women's sports.

Rip Curl has since hired transgender biological male Sasha Jane Lowerson, 44, to model its women's surf apparel. In an ad, they quoted Lowerson and praised Lowerson as well. An accompanying video showed the male surfer performing well in the surf.

"Meet Sasha," Rip Curl Women gushed, "a West Australian waterwoman who loves the freedom found in surfing, disconnecting from the mainstream, and the feeling of dancing on constantly changing waves. When we were adventuring through Western Australia recently, we were keen to know what The Search means to the surfers who crossed our paths. These surfers live on a wild stretch of coast where there’s always a new wave or campsite just a little further down the road or off the beaten track. 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.⁠"

"Along the way," Rip Curl Women said, "we met local women who love the ocean and their community. We met members of a surf club who embrace adult beginners and an ocean dipping group who have created an inclusive space to boost confidence. We surfed with lovers of all crafts at their local breaks – a longboarder, a frothing shortboarder and a waterwoman who lives The Search. We talked about the importance of community, the shared joy of learning to surf and the courage it takes to try something new, whether that be paddling out on a foamie, or turning up alone to go for a morning swim with strangers. The common thread is through these experiences there was a community of like-minded women who soon became friends and continue to welcome newcomers with big smiles. Their aim in life is to have fun – together.⁠"

Rip Curl Women added the caveat: "*With a commitment to maintaining a positive space for all, we have disabled our comments. Thank you for your understanding."

Swimmer Riley Gaines remarked "You mean to tell me @ripcurl 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? Crazzzzyyy."

Skateboarder Taylor Silverman had no time for Rip Curl or Lowerson either, saying "According to @ripcurl this man is a “waterwoman”…reality is he’s just a mentally ill man making a complete mockery of actual women."

Lowerson was in the video "Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia" campaign. Lowerson is featured in the video wearing a black, mustard yellow, and light pink bikini-style top, with matching surf shorts.

Lowerson claimed to have become suicidal in 2020 after "living a lie" as a male. After he transitioned, he decided to compete in women's surfing competitions and has since won numerous surf events against women, according to MRCTV.

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