September 23, 2005

Positivity: Meet Bethany Hamilton

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

A surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack yet still competes at the highest level:

Bethany Hamilton began her career as a surfer with her first competition at age 11. By age 13, she was an accomplished surfer and well-respected in the surfing world. Her lifelong dream of becoming a professional surfer was interrupted on October 31, 2003, as she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed arm but did not destroy her eagerness and courage to continue to pursue her dream. If anything, it just made her stronger and her relationship with Jesus Christ was also strengthened.

“I know I have something important to say. Something that people need to hear—but sometimes they get so caught up in the story part, that they miss the meaning,” says Bethany Hamilton.

Bethany has chosen to use her experience to become an inspiration and help others to overcome adversity, no matter how great. “People I don’t even know come up to me. I guess they see me as a symbol of courage and inspiration. One thing hasn’t changed—and that’s how I feel when I’m riding a wave. It’s like, here I am. I’m still here. It’s still me and my board—in God’s ocean!”

Since losing her arm, Bethany has been featured all over the media, both nationally and internationally.

…… During the month of July, Bethany won the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete. Then in August she was presented with a special Courage Award by Janet Jackson at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards.

Bethany has also continued to pursue her dream in the surf world too. Everyone was surprised to see Bethany surfing so soon after her accident. But no one expected her to win 5th place at the National Surfing Championships. Since her attack, Bethany has made numerous finals and has won three contests. In August, at the first stop on the Hawaii NSSA circuit, she took first in the Open Women’s division placing ahead of 2003-04 National Champion, Carissa Moore.

Bethany continues to compete in the most challenging waves in the world and amaze everyone by achieving the unimaginable. She dominated the 2005 National Scholastic Surfing Association Nationals Championships, taking 1st place in the Explorer Women’s division.

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