Trans-gender – surfing and California Coastal Commission intervention

In a sporting world that now must navigate the inclusion, or exclusion, or compromise of ‘transgender’, this somewhat contentious issues seem far from resolved.


The waters of Huntington Beach, California, churn with controversy. The saga begins with  transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, whose journey from exclusion to triumph has pretty much captivated the surfing world – polarising people, orgnaisations and even local govenment bodies .

Originally barred from riding the waves in the women’s division of a  longboard contest, Lowerson’s fate took a swift turn when the decision was reversed by the California Coastal Commission..

The tempest brewed when Todd Messick, the founder of American Longboarder, caught wind of Lowerson’s entry into the HB Longboarding Pro. Messick declared his stance .

Messick drew a line in the sand: “Right now, we’re going to support biological males and biological females in their divisions respectively.” His words, seemed to get somewhat fervent approval of thousands across social media.


Sasha Jane Lowerson, who was at one stage one of Australia’s leading male longboarders, even winning the men’s longboard div as Ryan Egan before transitioning four years ago and started to compete as a woman, she had months previously entered the HB Longboarding Pro.


Messick outlined his creed: “If you were born a female, you enter in the women’s. If you’re born a male, you enter in the men’s.” he went on to state it was not a matter of personal bias but a quest for fairness in competition.

He added, that this was nothing personal to Transgender Girls but……
“I want to offer an equal playing field for all athletes and that’s the stand we’re taking so I hope that everybody respects that and allows us to just do our thing. This whole thing is about traditional longboard surfing and supporting that so that’s what we’re here to do.”

Yet, the tides of fate shifted once more. Despite Messick’s decision of a women’s division exclusively for those born female, the California Coastal Commission intervened. Their ruling overturned Messick’s decision.

Sasha Jane Lowerson, posted a lengthy editorial 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!
I decided to enter a surfing event here in California that is due to run in a few weeks and unfortunately they have decided to cherry pick the ISA rule book. The organisers made a public announcement saying I wasn’t allowed to participate in the women’s division after I had already payed my entry fee a month earlier and even though Surfing America and ISA rule book states my inclusion in the women’s division is valid!
On March 9 2023 the international surfing Association released a formal and legal statement concerning the ruling of inclusion of people of diverse gender and mainly around transgender women to legally update the rule book. They had formally and legally declared the inclusion of people of diverse gender within surfing at an elite level prior in October 2022.
In this legal article in section 3.1 and .2 its states the requirements for a transgender woman to compete in the women’s division and I have met all those provisions for the last 3 & 1/2 years.
it really saddens me and actually sickens me when an organisation or a so-called league starts up and promotes events under the premise of for the better of the sport stating they will use the ISA rulebook and then they decide to just cherry pick what rules they want and don’t want to use.
It leaves me to believe that they would not stop at anything to let any rules slip or slide or adding anything they want to add in at any point of time if that’s the behaviour that they’re going to demonstrate from the beginning.
It’s pretty shameful and shady really!


As this issue revolves, and people take a polarised stance it will no doubt fall to authorities to implement assigned government ruling. It’s difficult enough within specific sporting bodies or local council, or within a countries boarder but continuity will be a controversial issue over international boarders – it’s there a resolution?

– watch this space.



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