Bethany Hamilton


In 2003, thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a fourteen-foot tiger shark which likely mistook her arm for one of the many turtles swimming in the area. Severing her arm just below the shoulder, the shark would have seemed to end her surfing career forever, but Bethany’s determination after the accident is what eventually made her famous. After a week recovering in the hospital, Hamilton began to prepare for a return to the ocean. Despite her challenges, she learned to paddle with one arm, compensating through more vigorous kicking, and by 2004 she was re-entering surfing competitions. Bethany Hamilton shared her story in her autobiography, which she penned in 2004 immediately upon her return to competition. The book, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, was a best-seller and inspired the film adaptation, Soul Surfer, which arrived in 2011.

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