Bethany Hamilton

by Stacia from Manhattan

On October 31, 2003, Bethany Hamilton lost 60% of her blood. She was surfing on Tunnels Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, with some friends when she was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark, who swam away with her arm (Hamilton). Bethany grew up in Kauai, where she learned to surf practically at the same time she learned to walk. She started surfing competitively at age 8, and by the time she was 13, she was sponsored by Rip Curl, a surf clothing company, and well on her way to becoming a professional surfer. After she lost her arm, many people didn't think she would ever be able to surf again, but only a month later she was back on the board! Bethany Hamilton is passionate about God, humble, and brave and this makes her an outstanding role model and an inspiration.

The thing that hits me most about Bethany Hamilton is that she has such strong faith. She grew up in a Christian home and put her faith in God at a very young age. In her book, Soul Surfer, Bethany said, "When People ask me what my faith in Christ means to me, I usually answer in just one word: 'Everything!'" After the shark attack, when she became famous, the only reason she agreed to do countless interviews was that she hoped that she might make a difference in someone's life and lead them to Christ. Sean McNamara, the director of the movie Soul Surfer, said about Bethany, "She was assertive about two things that were very important to her in making this film: It was all about Jesus, and we had to get the surfing right!" Bethany was very excited about the movie, saying, "If I can reach out to millions of moviegoers and help them find faith and God . . . well, it's a huge gift for me." Her faith is the absolute most important thing in her life, and I really admire her for that.

Bethany is also very humble. In the foreword of her book, she stated, "To be honest, I never really wanted to write a book.. because I'm not someone who likes to talk a lot about myself, or thinks I'm any big deal." She didn't even really want to be famous. I think being humble is something that goes hand in hand with her faith. Nothing was ever about her; it was always about giving the glory to God. All her doctors were amazed at her quick recovery and positive attitude, but she took no credit for it, insisting that it was her faith that got her through it. Even before the attack, when she was surfing really well and everyone was telling her she could become a professional surfer, she didn't let it go to her head, choosing instead to just enjoy the moment while she had it (Hamilton). There are a lot of people who don't value humility anymore, and it's rare to find someone who's fairly famous but still humble, like Bethany is.

Bethany Hamilton is brave in many different ways. It would be so hard to go back into the water after being attacked by a shark. When people ask her about sharks she says, "Life is full of what-ifs. You can't let it hold you back." She does confess that she thinks about sharks more than she did before the attack, and she's not planning on going back to Tunnels Beach any time soon, but what happened to her was pretty rare. "The fact is that most surfers, even veteran surfers, have never seen a shark while in the water" (Hamilton). I think it would be immensely hard to have the courage to live with one arm. You would have to be creative, to find out how to do things with one arm, as well as self-confident, to be able to handle the stares and pitying looks. This would be unbelievably difficult, but Bethany deals with it every day, no sweat.

Bethany Hamilton is a strong Christian, humble, and courageous and that is why she is inspiring to me. She puts God at the center of everything she does. She is always pointing away from herself and never gets a big head, and she doesn't let her fears keep her from doing what she loves. In 2007, Bethany finally became a professional surfer, and she is now one of the world's top 20 women's professional surfers. She is 23 years old and has recently been married.

Page created on 9/30/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/2/2021 10:49:24 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Bethany Hamilton - Bethany's website
Soul Surfer - Tells more about Bethany's faith

Extra Info

Waves roll in slowly
Speckled with foam, clear as glass
My heart sings for joy.