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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 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.

Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer; 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. Hamilton was portrayed by actress AnnaSophia Robb, but Hamilton herself performed all the one-armed surfing stunts in it.

Hamilton plays herself in the film Dolphin Tale 2, which revolves around the baby dolphin Hope's story. Hamilton and her husband, Adam Dirks, competed as a team on the 25th season of The Amazing Race, finishing in third place.

Bethany is involved in numerous charitable efforts, including her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which reaches out to amputees and youth, encouraging a broken world by offering hope to overcome through Jesus Christ. Using her platform as a professional athlete to promote living a fit and healthy lifestyle, she authored the book Body and Soul in 2014. 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.

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, a surf documentary which follows Bethany's journey from childhood into motherhood – the ups, downs and her powerful resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of all time, was released in 2019.

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”.

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