At the age of thirteen, Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm. After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude.
Just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. In January of 2004, Bethany made her return to surf competition; placing 5th in the Open Women’s division of that contest. With no intention of stopping, Bethany continued to enter and excel in competition. Just over a year after the attack she took 1st place in the Explorer Women’s division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships – winning her first National Title.
Bethany has since turned pro and participated in numerous ASP and World Tour Events with her major highlight being a second place finish in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships.
In 2004, Bethany shared her life story in her autobiography entitled Soul Surfer. In 2011, the book was made into a major motion picture bearing the same title. Other books Bethany has written include Devotions for the Soul Surfer (2011), Rise Above (2011), and A Soul Surfer Bible (2007).
Through the platform of professional sport, Bethany has been able to touch a large number of people with her message, charitable efforts, and overall spirit. She has just launched her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports shark attack survivors, traumatic amputees, and serves to inspire others through her life story, and is involved in numerous other charitable efforts.
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