Hamilton in 2007
Bethany Meilani Hamilton|
February 8, 1990
Lihue, Hawaii, U.S.
|Residence||Kauai, Hawaii, U.S|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||155 lb (70 kg)|
ESPY Award (2004)|
NSSA National Helping Kids Champion (2005)
2nd place, ASP World Junior Championships (2008)
Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks (born February 8, 1990) is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off but who ultimately returned to—and was victorious in—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.
|Placings in surf competitions|
|1998||Rell Sun Menehune||1st|
|2002||Open Women's Division of the NSSA||1st||USA|
|2004||NSSA National Competition||1st||Australia|
|2005||NSSA National Competition||1st||USA|
|2005||O'Neill Island Girl Junior Pro tournament||1st||USA|
|2006||NSSA National Championship: 18-and-under Finalist||5th||USA|
|2006||Hawaii Team Highlights||4th
|2007||T & C Pipeline Women's Pro||1st||USA|
|2008||US Open of Surfing—Huntington Beach, California||5th||USA|
|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|
|2014||Surf 'n' Sea Pipeline Women's Pro||1st||USA|
|2015||Swatch Women's Pro||13th||USA|
|2016||Fiji Women's Pro||3rd||Fiji|
Shark attack and recovery
On October 31, 2003, Hamilton, aged 13 at the time, went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with her best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana's father, Holt, and brother Byron. 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 14-foot-long (4.3 m) 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 rash guard and wrapped it around the stump of her arm. She was rushed to Wilcox Memorial Hospital. By the time she arrived there she had lost over 60% of her blood and was in hypovolemic shock. A doctor living in a hotel nearby raced to the rescue. Her father, who was scheduled to have knee surgery that same morning, was already there, but she took his place in the operating room. She spent the next 3 weeks in recovery before being released. 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 on the way 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 14-foot-long (4.3 m) tiger shark they had caught and killed about one mile from the attack site. It had surfboard debris in its mouth. When measurements of its mouth were compared with those of Hamilton's broken board, it matched. In late 2004, the police officially confirmed that it was the one that attacked her.
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. The shark-bitten surfboard that Hamilton was riding during the attack, as well as the bathing suit she was wearing at the time, a gift from ocean photographer Aaron Chang, are on display at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California.
Since the attack, she has appeared as a guest on numerous television shows. Her manager, Roy "Dutch" Hofstetter, who went on to produce the film Soul Surfer, managed her 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, 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 her devout Christianity and the courage and faith in Jesus Christ in the aftermath of the shark attack, and follows her quest for spiritual meaning.
On August 7, 2009, she was a contestant on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? and won $25,000. On May 16, 2010, she appeared on an episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In March 2011, Hamilton appeared in a video for the Christian organization I Am Second, telling of 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 in theaters. Hamilton was portrayed by actress AnnaSophia Robb. Hamilton herself performed all the one-armed surfing stunts in it. The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 2, 2011.
Hamilton plays herself in the film Dolphin Tale 2, which revolves around the baby dolphin Hope's story. Filming began in Clearwater, Florida, on October 7, 2013. It was released on September 12, 2014. Hamilton and her husband, Adam Dirks, competed as a team on the 25th season of The Amazing Race, finishing in third place. Filmed in June 2014, it premiered on September 26 the same year on CBS.
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 (ISBN 9780310731054) in 2014. Bethany’s latest project, BETHANY HAMILTON: UNSTOPPABLE, a surf documentary which will showcase her as one of the best women surfers in the world, is set to release in 2018, accompanied by a photo book (ISBN 978-0310764854) and a children’s book (ISBN 978-0310764977).
Hamilton was home-schooled from 6th grade through high school. Bethany is a Christian. She is the youngest of three siblings. In early 2012, Hamilton met youth minister Adam Dirks through mutual friends. They became engaged in April 2013. The couple were married on August 18, 2013, in front of 300 friends and family members at a secluded 130-acre estate on Kauai's north shore, near where she grew up. The couple have a son named Tobias who was born in 2015. In March 2018 they welcomed their second son, Wesley. 
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- "Results - 2016 Fiji Women's Pro".
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- Wicks, Krista (May 7, 2013). "Surfer Bethany Hamilton Engaged". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- "Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton Engaged to Wed Youth Minister Adam Dirks". 12 July 2013.
- "Bethany Hamilton's Official Wedding Photo". Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- "Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton Gets Married to Christian Youth Minister Adam Dirks". 18 August 2013.
- Herreria, Carla (June 15, 2015). "Bethany Hamilton Introduces New Baby Boy With Adorable Family Photo". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
- Bethany Hamilton [@bethanyhamilton] (October 8, 2017). "More than thankful to share our joyous news!!! #babyinthere #babyonboard✨🎉❤️" (Tweet). Retrieved October 8, 2017 – via Twitter.