Over the last two months, Surfing WA has received a large amount of feedback from members and others regarding participation by a transgender surfer in the recent WA State Longboard Titles. Much of this feedback has raised legitimate concerns regarding fairness in female competition.
Participation by transgender athletes is governed by Surfing Australia policies. Following feedback from our members Surfing WA raised these community concerns with the Board of Surfing Australia, along with all other State Surfing Chairs at a recent meeting held specifically to address these issues. Following that discussion, Surfing Australia also sought input from the Australian Sports Commission who provided further commentary and advised on the policy and ruling.
Following that discussion, Surfing Australia have ruled, as per the current policy which they distributed to all states in Dec 2021, that transgender surfers are free to enter any contest in Australia, up to and including the National Titles. If the International Surfing Association (ISA), who make global rulings for the sport, was to decide that transgender surfers are not eligible to enter international competitions, Surfing Australia would also look to reinforce that ruling via the states for State and National level competitions.
Surfing Australia remains committed to reassessing their policy, with input from the ISA, in light of the legitimate concerns which have been raised regarding fairness in surfing events.
Surfing WA is not prepared to create or make up our own set of rules here in WA. The sport of surfing transcends State borders, and we will continue to follow the current Surfing Australia rule book and policy documents as distributed by our national governing body.
We believe the current policy still needs further work, and we are actively liaising with Surfing Australia on this. Our long-term objective is to land on a well-considered and supported policy. In addition, we are also encouraging the ISA to work through the science and complexity of this issue and ultimately land on a criterion that ensures both fairness and inclusion for all athletes.