Australian surfwear company Rip Curl has faced criticism for spotlighting a transgender surfer in a campaign showcasing women’s surfing. The athlete, Sasha Lowerson, was featured in the brand’s “Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia” campaign. This move has drawn heat, given the brand discontinued its association with famed surfer Bethany Hamilton last year reportedly due to her opposition to transgender women competing in women’s sports.
Rip Curl has seen backlash from those who argue that he should not compete alongside athletes born as women. Several detractors cited solidarity with Hamilton and raised concerns about women’s sports, with some suggesting a separate league for transgender athletes.
Rip Curl’s controversy is not singular. Swimwear brands Moana Bikini and Seafolly have also faced backlash over campaigns featuring transgender athletes.