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|Born||Bethany Meilani Hamilton
February 8, 1990
Lihue, Hawaii, United States
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||140 lb (64 kg)|
|Major achievements||ESPY Award (2004)
NSSA National Helping Kids Champion (2005)
2nd place, ASP World Junior Championships (2008)
Bethany Meilani Hamilton (born February 8, 1990, Lihue, Hawaii) is an American professional surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, and for overcoming the injury to ultimately return to professional surfing. She wrote about her experience in the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. In April 2011, the feature film Soul Surfer was released, based on the book and additional interviews. She has appeared on many television shows since the loss of her arm, and will portray herself in the 2014 movie Dolphin Tale 2.
|Placings in surf competitions|
|1998||Rell Sun Menehune||1st||United States|
|2002||Open Women's Division of the NSSA||1st||United States|
|2004||NSSA National Competition||5th||United States|
|2005||NSSA National Competition||1st||United States|
|2005||O'Neill Island Girl Junior Pro tournament||1st||United States|
|2006||NSSA National Championship: 18-and-under Finalist||5th||United States|
|2006||Hawaii Team Highlights||4th
|2007||NSSA Regionals||5th||United States|
|2007||Women's Pipeline Championship||4th||United States|
|2008||US Open of Surfing – Huntington Beach, California||5th||United States|
|2008||Roxy Pro Surf Festival – Phillip Island||3rd||Australia|
|2009||Rio Surf International in Rio de Janeiro||3rd||Brazil|
|2009||Billabong ASP World Junior Championship||2nd||Australia|
*4th at Brazil event, 5th at World Games event in the United States.
Shark attack and recovery
On October 31, 2003, at the age of 13, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai with best friend Alana Blanchard and Alana's father and brother. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 15 foot tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm just below the shoulder. The Blanchards helped paddle her back to shore, then Alana's father fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash and wrapped it around the stump of her arm, before she was rushed to Wilcox Memorial Hospital. By the time she arrived there she had lost over 60% of her blood and was in hypovolaemic shock. Her father, who was scheduled to have knee surgery that morning, was already at the hospital, but she took his place in the operating room. She spent a week in recovery before being released from the hospital. During subsequent media interviews, she confirmed that she felt normal when she was bitten and did not feel much pain from the bite at the moment of the disaster, but felt numb during the ambulance ride to the hospital.
When the news broke out of the shark attack, a family of fishermen led by Ralph Young, presented to investigators photos of a 15-foot-long tiger shark they had caught and killed about one mile from the attack site. The shark had surfboard debris in its mouth. When measurements of the shark's mouth were compared with those of Hamilton's demolished surfboard, it matched. In late 2004, the police officially confirmed that the shark was the one that bit Bethany Hamilton.
Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Less than one month after the incident, she returned to her board. Initially, she adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker than standard and had a handle for her right arm, making it easier to paddle, and she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, on January 10, 2004, she entered a major competition. She now uses standard competitive performance short-boards.
Since the attack, she has been a guest on numerous television shows. Her manager Roy "Dutch" Hofstetter, who went on to produce the film "Soul Surfer", managed Bethany's rise through the media from "shark attack victim" to "inspirational role model". The television shows she has appeared on include The Biggest Loser, 20/20, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show and The Tonight Show, as well as in magazines People, Time and American Girl. Additionally, she was the cover story in the premier issue of Nine magazine. In 2004, she won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete and also received the Courage Teen Choice Award.
In 2004, MTV Books published Hamilton's book, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board (ISBN 0-7434-9922-0), which describes her ordeal. Her story is also told in the 2007 short subject documentary film, Heart of a Soul Surfer, directed by Becky Baumgartner. Described as a "faith-based documentary", the film addresses Hamilton's devout Christianity and the courage and faith in Jesus Christ in the aftermath of the shark attack, and follows her quest for spiritual meaning.
In March 2011, Hamilton did a video for the Christian organization, I Am Second, telling about her struggle after the shark attack and how she trusted in God to get her through it.
On April 8, 2011, a feature film Soul Surfer, based on her 2004 book, was released. Hamilton is portrayed by AnnaSophia Robb—with Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Craig T. Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Lorraine Nicholson, and Kevin Sorbo also starring in the film. Hamilton performs all the one-armed surfing stunts in the film.
On October 11, 2011, she appeared on the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting, in the episode titled "Duggars Under the Sea", when the Duggar family visited her, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hamilton is due to play herself in the upcoming sequel to the 2011 film Dolphin Tale, which revolves around the baby dolphin Hope's story. Filming began in Clearwater, Florida on October 7, 2013 and is due to finish some time in January 2014. It is set to be released on September 19, 2014.
- "About". Bethany's General Biography. BethanyHamilton.com. 2003. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- Clark, Mark (September 24, 2011). "Soul Surfer Interview With Bethany Hamilton!". WhatCulture!. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Guy Bagley. "Current Exhibits". Surfmuseum.org. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- "Shark attack survivor discusses products and jewelry lines in new mag" Lanaly Cabali, The Garden Island, June 30, 2006.
- "The 2004 ESPY Awards winners". ESPN. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (August 9, 2004). "Lindsay Lohan Top Teen Choice Awards". People. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- "Heart of a Soul Surfer". Walking on Water. Retrieved June 8, 2007.
- "Heart of a Soul Surfer: The Bethany Hamilton Movie". Retrieved June 8, 2007.
- Pilkington, Maria (September 27, 2011). "Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer) Interview". The 405. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Webber, Stephanie (August 18, 2013). "Pro Surfer Bethany Hamilton Marries Adam Dirks". Us Weekly. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Wicks, Krista (May 7, 2013). "Surfer Bethany Hamilton Engaged". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Official website
- CBS News interview
- Bethany Hamilton Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
- Bethany Hamilton and the Teeth of the Tiger