Rip Curl makes huge damage control move after outraged Aussies tried to cancel the iconic brand for using a trans woman to promote women’s surfing
Australians are calling for a national boycott of iconic surf brand Rip Curl for using a transgender woman on its social media accounts, as the brand moves to scrub any trace of the promotion.
Rip Curl has come under fire for using West Australian professional longboarder and transgender woman Sasha Lowerson in a women’s surfing promotion last week.
Lowerson, 44, appeared on the Rip Curl Women Instagram page on Thursday as part of the company’s Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia campaign.
It comes just months after Rip Curl cut ties with pro surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton – one of the world’s most famous surfers – allegedly over her opposition to transgender people competing in women’s sports.
The post featuring Lowerson has since been deleted from the Rip Curl Women Instagram page, but hundreds of Australians have continued to attack the company on other posts across its social media platforms.
Western Australian longboarder Sasha Lowerson took part in a Rip Curl promotion for women’s surfing, prompting a consumer backlash
The promotion featuring Lowerson has since been removed by Rip Curl, but Aussies are still calling for a boycott of the company’s products
The outcry comes after Rip Curl cut ties with former brand ambassador and champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, allegedly over her views on transgender women in surfing
The posts featured the hashtags #GoWokeGoBroke #savewomenssports #StopReplacingWomen and #boycotttripcurl with commenters calling for Aussies to cut ties with the surf brand.
‘I take my money elsewhere. Why do you hate women?’ asked one follower.
‘Rip Curl has always been one of my favorite brands in this industry, shame I will never spend a cent with them,’ posted another.
‘RIP for my rip curl!!! No longer supported!’ added one more.
There were also several messages of support for Hamilton.
‘Bethany is an icon. She’s better off without this company,’ one follower posted.
“There will be no one better than Bethany to represent women in women’s surfing – RIP Rip Curl,” added another.
One commenter even accused Rip Curl of removing comments while it was going into damage control.
‘Why are you deleting comments? Delete as much as you want, people already know where you stand when it comes to biological women,’ they posted.
Rip Curl has yet to make a public statement regarding the removal of the Lowerson promotion.
USA Online Post Australia has contacted Rip Curl for comment.
Surfing, which will debut as a new sport at the Paris Olympics in 2024, adopted its International Surfing Association policy for transgender participation in early 2023.
The policy is recognized by the Olympic Committee and states: ‘Eligibility criteria applicable to transgender (trans) people and/or people with gender variations must be evidence-based, rights-respecting, and developed on a sport-by-sport basis. ‘
It states that surfers born as biological males must maintain set standards of testosterone levels continuously for 12 months to be eligible to compete in a women’s event.
Hamilton and fellow Aussie surfing legend Kelly Slater have previously called for a separate transgender division in the sport.
Hamilton has also previously threatened to boycott the sport over its transgender policy.
While many followers support her stance, she has also been labeled a ‘homophobe’ and ‘transphobe’ on her Instagram account.
Australian surfing champion Kelly Slater has also been outspoken about transgender athletes in the sport and wants a separate category created for them to compete in
Lowerson told USA Online Post Australia last year that she received support from top surfers who ‘made me regain my faith in humanity’.
‘The current number six in the world, which I haven’t seen since before my transition, I rowed over to her and she saw me and said, “Look at you, you look amazing.” The 2016 world champion Rachael Tilly came and said hello, she said “It’s so good to see you here”.
“At first I had a lot of fears for my safety, but there were little things, little acts of kindness.”