At the age of 13, Bethany Hamilton stared directly into the eyes of death. Death, in this case, came in the form of a 14-foot tiger shark. One day, while on a surfing adventure in Kauai, Bethany was viciously attacked by the ocean predator – leaving her with a severely severed left arm. Her adventure was cut short when she was immediately rushed to the hospital. By the time she arrived, she had already lost over 60% of her blood.
Duck Tape Surfing
Most people, after such a traumatic accident, would refuse to get back into the ocean or travel anywhere near it. Bethany’s love for adventure, however, was clearly stronger than her fear because of less than a month after the incident, she was back on a board – a custom-made one, with a handle for her right arm.
Despite the circumstances, Bethany has remained positive. She learned how to surf with one arm, teaching herself to kick harder in order to make up for the loss of her left arm. Then in January of 2004, she entered a major competition… And placed 5th in the Open Women’s division.
Impressive, huh? Well, that’s just the beginning…
Since then, Bethany has participated in numerous ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) and World Tour Events: a major highlight of her career came when she finished second in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships. Then in 2005, Bethany won her first National Title when she took 1st place in the Explorer Women’s division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships. Just two years later, in 2007, she became a professional surfer.
Currently, she is also involved in numerous charitable efforts, including her own charity, Friends of Bethany – a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and encouraging shark attack survivors and amputees.
Through it all, however, Bethany’s impressive list of achievements comes secondary to her triumph over a personal hardship. Through her experiences, Bethany has been able to inspire and touch a large number of people from around the world with her uplifting message and spirit. Her autobiography entitled Soul Surfer, is also an encouraging adventure story of her perseverance, courage, and dedication…
They are three qualities that make Bethany truly a badass celebrity, in the water and out of.