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Australian surf brand Rip Curl has become the latest brand to face a widespread boycott after featuring transgender surfer Sasha Lowerson in their social media campaign.

The backlash emerged following the brand’s now removed promotional spotlight on Lowerson, a professional longboarder from Western Australia, as part of their “Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia” initiative.

The inclusion of Lowerson, 44, in the campaign drew immediate criticism across social media, leading Rip Curl to retract the promotional content from their Rip Curl Women Instagram page.

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The decision to remove the post follows the brand’s previous disassociation with renowned surfer Bethany Hamilton, allegedly due to her expressed views on transgender athletes in women’s sports.

Critics of Rip Curl’s recent promotional choice have since taken to social media to voice their dissatisfaction, utilising hashtags such as #GoWokeGoBroke and #savewomenssports while encouraging a national boycott.

The controversy highlights the broader debate surrounding the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports, a topic that has seen figures like Hamilton and Australian surfing legend Kelly Slater advocating for a separate division for transgender competitors. Both athletes have been vocal about their concerns, with Hamilton even suggesting a boycott of the sport over its transgender policies.

Despite the outcry, there have also been instances of support within the surfing community for Lowerson, who shared with Daily Mail Australia previous encounters of kindness and acceptance from fellow surfers.

“The current number six in the world…said, ‘Look at you, you look amazing’. The 2016 world champ Rachael Tilly came up and said hello, she said, ‘It’s so good to see you here’,” Lowerson recounted, highlighting the complex and varied responses within the surfing world to her transition.

With the Paris Olympics on the horizon and surfing set to be featured as a new sport, the discussion around transgender athletes’ participation continues to evolve, reflecting a myriad of views and opinions across the spectrum of the sporting world.

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