Lesbian Professional Surfer Receives World Champion Title 

surfer
Rachel Kiley

There’s a new world champion in surfing and she’s an out and proud lesbian.

Keala Kennelly received the title of 2018 Big Wave world champion last weekend, as part of a World Surf League function.

During her acceptance speech, she mentioned that she was almost a surfing world champion at 25, but wound up in second place.

“I was devastated because I felt like my life was over because I failed at my big dream. But what I realize now is that wasn’t my dream at all, because I wasn’t dreaming big enough," Kennelly said.

“I needed to dream bigger because when I was 25, I was hiding in the closet, soaked in shame, living in fear, and I hated myself, because I didn’t think you could be world champion and gay at the same time. I needed to dream bigger because now I get to be the first openly gay world champion.”

Kennelly later corrected herself, noting that Cori Schumacher was crowned world champion in 2010, and was out at the time. However, she was not given the opportunity to make a speech, possibly leading to the oversight.

But still, any time an out and proud athlete makes strides in their field, or even is able to comfortably discuss their sexuality or who they’re dating in public, it’s a win.

“And I get to be proud of who I am and I get to love myself exactly as I am, not as people would want me to be,” Kennelly said. “And it’s my hope that I’m going to inspire other LGBT athletes who are suffering in silence to live their truth.”

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