By the time she was 13, Bethany Hamilton was already a rising star on the surfing scene.
Raised on Kauai, the Hawaiian ‘Garden Isle’, the young surf star had already received a sponsorship by the age of 9.
But in October 2003, during a morning surf session at Tunnels Beach, her life changed forever. Bethany was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark, severing her left arm below the shoulder. Were it not for the quick actions of those she was surfing with the outcome could have been much worse.
She was only 13 when she cheated death in the ocean. Despite the loss of her arm, young Bethany was determined that not only would she return to the water, but she would carve out a career in professional surfing.
In 2004 her autobiography ‘Soul Surfer’ was released which was later made into a Hollywood movie.
Two years after her attack Bethany took out her first national surfing title, and to this day is still active on the pro circuit. As she puts it, the key to her success and recovery is her foundation of faith, her source of hope and strength.
Unstoppable – From Childhood to Motherhood
But these days surfing is not the only thing that keeps her busy. Bethany has released a number of books over the years, with 2018’s ‘Be Unstoppable’ encouraging readers to grab life by the horns and trust God.
In 2013 she married Adam, and the couple have two kids – Tobias and Wesley. She’s also been working on the documentary ‘Unstoppable’ with film maker Aaron Lieber. The film tells her story from childhood to motherhood, and she told 96five’s Tim Bain that the movie was very different to the Hollywood telling of Soul Surfer.
“I think that Unstoppable does an even more amazing job of capturing my life. It tells the real story of continuing a professional surfing career as a mum and a wife, and doing so much more than just surfing.”
Through it all though, it’s Bethany’s role as a mother that she’s most proud of.
“I love sharing life with my two boys and bringing them along for the ride in all that we do! Anyone who’s a parent knows that it’s life changing in the most amazing way. They make life just that little more adventurous!”
I’m not sure whether she actually needs more adventure in life! The 30-year-old is also a fearless big wave rider away from the pro circuit, having regularly conquered Hawaii’s infamous Jaws surf break.
Bethany is in Australia at the moment for the release of Unstoppable, which is in cinemas on March 13.
Special Q&A screenings with Bethany take place later this month at the following locations:
- BCC Cinemas Maroochydore – Friday March 27th at 6:30pm
- Event Cinemas Garden City (Mt Gravatt) – Saturday March 28th at 2pm
- Event Cinemas Chermside – Saturday March 28th at 7pm
- Event Cinemas Pacific Fair – Monday March 30th, at 6:30pm & 7:15pm