First trans surfer to win female longboard competition

Nautical Channel
24 May 2022
NEWS | Surf

Sasha Jane Lowerson has won the Open Women’s Longboard and Open Women’s Logger events at the West Coast Suspensions state championships held in Avalon Bay. 

She has become the first surfer in history to win both the men’s and women’s division in this competition after winning the 2019 men’s longboard title as Ryan Egan. The surfer began her medical transition last year and positioned herself in the podium with a score of 14.70, well ahead Georgia Young with 10.63 and Samantha Vanderford with 9.27. 

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Although this has sparked some debate regarding the gender-identity in competitive surfing as one commentator called it a “one-sided” contest, the surfer has found a great amount support from the longboard community in Australia. 

Ben Mondy, writer at the Inertia, was able to interview the Australian surfer via Zoom.

It’s been a couple of days now since you won those titles. Have you had time to process it? What are you feeling right now about the whole experience? 

Look, with longboarding, even if you make the World Tour, you still don’t earn money. So, you have to ask yourself; why do it? And the answer is we do it for fun. And a win or a loss will never define you. 

It’s how you win or lose and whether you do it with respect and dignity that is important. That’s something I pride myself on. So I’m pretty sure I surfed and gave a lot of respect to my competitors. And I received that respect, too. 

It was an amazing experience, with great waves. I surfed an amazing, perfect point break with three other women.

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What was the reaction from your fellow athletes?

They were very inclusive. Obviously when you lose one, and I’ve lost plenty, you’re very disappointed, but I think in longboarding it’s not make or break. You know we all have jobs, and the sun still comes up tomorrow. 

From my point of view anyway, they were amazing. I’d say the same for the event organizers too.

You have competed in the Men’s division previously. How was this experience different? 

Well, it wasn’t the first event I’ve competed in as a female. I competed in the Noosa Festival of Surfing in March. So that was technically the first time a trans athlete had ever competed in surfing. 

And there was no hoo haa then, because there was nothing to talk about. I came 10th. I was surfing against some of the best longboard women in the world, and they schooled me.

With this event, though, I was a bigger fish in a smaller pond, and there are going to be naysayers as soon as you win one. Unfortunately, when a trans athlete is successful a lot of people want to jump up and down. But there are also a lot of people that want to celebrate it, which is a positive thing.

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