Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration for all. She was just 13 years old when her life forever changed after she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing with her brother, her best friend and her best friend's father. The attack left her with her left arm bitten off but that setback did not deter her from her goal. She went back to surfing and even successfully won the national title two years after her shark attack.
Bethany Hamilton's story was retold not only in the book "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board," but also in the movie "Soul Surfer" which starred actress AnnaSophia Robb. Her strength and resilience have not only won her the 2004 ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete but also the Courage Teen Choice Award.
Now 13 years after the shark attack, Bethany Hamilton is still as inspirational. She is a professional surfer, motivational speaker, wife, and now also a mother.
In May of this year, Bethany competed in the World Surf League's Fiji Women's Pro where she finished third in the competition, her best performance in the WSL yet. T26-year-oldold beat not only six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore but also Tyler Wright, who is the top-ranked female surfer in the world. Although she lost in the semifinal to Johanne Defay, her run in this year's league has still inspirational.
"The hardships she overcomes to perform at the level she does in the ocean is arguably unparalleled in men's or women's sport," surfing legend Kelly Slater said of her performance in Fiji. "I think everyone should have a full surf with one arm strapped to their side and attempt not only to paddle out but put themselves in position at heavy spots like Pipe, Jaws, and Cloudbreak, and try to get up on a short board. I'm scared to try it myself and ridiculously impressed with her talents."
Being a mother did not hold her back from her training too. Bethany Hamilton gave birth to son Tobias, June of 2015. She still trains as a surfer but also spends most of her time caring for her toddler. She considers herself a mom, a wife and a passionate surfer. She does not want to return in competitive surfing unless she is given invitations as a wildcard entry.
Just last month, Bethany Hamilton was in Australia to not only present the winner of the sports category at the Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year Awards but also to promote her movie "Surfs Like A Girl" which will be shown in 2017.
The shark attack survivor does not want to be forever labeled as such, and even says that the fact she surfs with just one arm is irrelevant.
Bethany, who is a Christian and married to a youth minister, has always credited her faith for helping her manage through the waves of life.
"As a Christian, I really cling tight to the promises that God has for my life. They remain steady and true, aren't going to waiver or change and are there for us to rely on. He grows us in our faith as we go through hard times.