Bethany Hamilton, She Surfs from her Soul

Posted on July 19, 2019

Bethany Hamilton, She Surfs from her Soul

Bethany Hamilton has become a global inspiration after she not only survived a shark attack, but went on to learn to surf and compete again. 

In 2003, when she was only 13 years old, Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark and lost her arm. What might have derailed her passion, spirit and career, only convinced her all the more that surfing was her calling. 

Only one month after the attack, Hamilton proved her perseverance when she got back in the water, and started surfing again. Within two years she had won a National Title.  

Hamilton exemplifies the  "get back on the horse” mentality, as she overcomes her challenges. Aside from having to live with only one arm, she lives with the stigma that comes with it. In her interview with The Guardian in 2016, she said, "when I first heard I was going to be nominated for an ESPY the first thing I thought was: ‘Whoa, I’m going to be up for best female action sports athlete!’ It didn’t even occur to me that I was going to be placed in the disabled division … I don’t surf disabled or compete in a disabled category.”

Hamilton’s outlook reminds us all of an important message – having a "disability” doesn’t mean that your life is disabled or that you deserve to be perceived that way. It might be a handicap, but that shouldn’t define an athlete, or a person for that matter. Hamilton has made it her mission to spread that message far and wide so that others who face similar challenges are emboldened rather than discouraged. 

You can find Bethany Hamilton still surfing waves and giving back. Check out her website where she keeps the world up to date on her adventures, health tips, and family life.