Bethany Hamilton Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Bethany Hamilton          

Professional Surfer; Shark Attack Survivor; Inspiration for the Film "Soul Surfer"

Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of faith, determination, health, and hope. Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of eight, Bethany entered her first surf competition, the Rell Sun Menehune event on Oahu, where she won both the short and long board divisions. This sparked a love for surf competition within her spirit.

At the age of 13, on October 31, 2003, Bethany 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 percent of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Lifeguards and doctors believe her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through the traumatic ordeal.

Miraculously, 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 first place in the Explorer Women's division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships winning her first National Title.

In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro. Bethany has since participated in numerous ASP and World Tour Events with her major highlight being a second place finish in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships.

Since losing her arm, Bethany's story has been told in hundreds of media outlets and she has been recognized with numerous awards, public appearances, and various speaking engagements.

In October 2004, Bethany shared her life story in her autobiography entitled Soul Surfer. Seven years later, the book was made into a major motion picture bearing the same title which released theatrically in April, and for home entertainment in August 2011. Other books Bethany has written include Devotions for the Soul Surfer, Rise Above, A Soul Surfer Bible, Ask Bethany, and Clash, Burned, Storm, and Crunch. Further, Bethany was the inspiration behind Becky Baumgartner's 2007 documentary entitled Heart of a Soul Surfer and voiced an animated character based off herself in the film Dolphin Tale 2.

From a young age, Bethany's parents instilled their faith in Jesus Christ; and at age five, she made the decision to have a personal relationship with Him. Bethany's foundation of faith has been her backbone; her source of truth, hope, and strength.

Out of the water, Bethany has grown from a young teenage girl with aspirations of becoming a professional surfer into a 20-year old professional surfer with aspirations of becoming a beacon of inspiration and hope. 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. Bethany 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.

Bethany's story is continually growing as she strives to be the best at whatever God calls her to do. The future is truly wide open for this young soul surfer!

Speech Topics


Shark Attack Survivor

News


Shark attack survivor to speak and surf in Ocean Grove

Her story riveted the nation and now Bethany Hamilton is coming to the Jersey Shore to spread a message of hope.

Bethany Hamilton: One-armed shark attack survivor beats world's best surfer in Fiji

One-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton finished a career-best third in the World Surf League's Fiji Women's Pro. The 26-year-old's left arm was bitten off in a shark attack in 2003.

Bethany Hamilton: surfing with only one arm isn't as hard as beating the stigma

In Bethany Hamilton’s mind, winning the ESPY award for best female athlete with a disability would have been like “rewinding back to square one”.

Related Speakers View all


More like Bethany