Bethany Hamilton

by Grace Kessler from San Diego, California in United States

133798 at English Wikipedia [Public domain]Bad things happen to good people. It’s a peaceful day, and you're out on your board with friends for a morning surf. You suddenly feel a tug on your arm as a deep red color covers the water. You hear screams all around you as your friends tug you into shore. Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai in Hawaii and is the youngest of 3, born to Tom and Cherilyn Hamilton. Tom Hamilton works as a waiter and her mom, Cheri, works in food service. She has two older brothers, Noah (who is about eight years older than Bethany) and Timothy. The Hamilton family attends the North Shore Community Church on Kauai, and her Christian faith has long been one of the touchstones that Bethany relies upon. "All my life is based on God and Jesus," she has said. "If I didn't have them I'd be lost in the world." In addition to regular worship services, she attends weekly church-sponsored activities that involve games and barbecues mixed with Bible study. She also takes part in annual church camps that include such offbeat games as turkey football (using an uncooked turkey), concerts, speakers, and devotional activities. A hero is someone who motivates others to push past obstacles and work to accomplish your dreams. From a young age, Hamilton dreamed of being a pro surfer but after having had her arm bit off by a shark, her dreams seemed less than possible. Now being a pro surfer, Hamilton inspired others who have faced tragedies like her to not give up. Bethany Hamilton is more than just a surfer, she is an inspiration through her positivity no matter what, her courage of not giving up, and her passion for surfing that pushes her to be the best and give back to others.

Bethany Hamilton is a hero because she is positive. She easily could’ve given up on her dream and never surfed again, but instead she turned to God and kept a good outlook on life which made everything that she has accomplished since then possible. Despite the shark attack, Hamilton maintained a positive outlook. Her agent/manager, Roy Hofstetter, told Duncan Campbell of Observer Sports Magazine, "The main purpose is ... to use her own experience to help others. She wants to talk about women surfing and about her faith. She does not want to be called brave or a heroine or anything, she just wants to be natural with people around the world."("Bethany Hamilton.") Through everything she never had a negative attitude and she trusted that she would get back in the water as soon as possible, and she was still a bright light day to day even with one arm. Hamilton wouldn’t be Hamilton without surfing. “As for Hamilton, she attributed her survival to another source. "I might not be here if I hadn't asked for God's help," she said. "I was talking. I was praying. I don't know the exact words. I just asked for help." She also considered some less spiritual topics in the moments after the attack: "One thought that went through my head was 'I wonder if I'm going to lose my sponsors?” and “Even before she was released, she was showing that she was ready to get back on her feet. She played practical jokes on her nurses and visited with other patients. After being released, she admitted that the shark attack was "pretty much all I think about," but even then she was determined to come to terms with her misfortune. "There's no time machine," she said: "I can't change it. That was God's plan for my life and I'm going to go with it.… If you don't get over it, … then you'll just be sad and cry." Even through her times of hurt and worry, she somehow found a way to always turn to God and trust his plan for her. She was ready to get out of the hospital as soon as she got in there, she lives and breathes surfing and for that to be taken away is horrible, luckily she beat all odds and surfs once again.  “Bethany has been able to touch a large number of people with her faith message, charitable efforts, and overall spirit. Her greatest joy is being a wife and mother, and she continues to touch and inspire lives globally as a professional surfer, author and motivational speaker. She has her own blog on helping others become unstoppable.”(“The Inspirational Quotes by Bethany Hamilton.”) Bethany’s foundation has touched so many people, Christian or not, she spreads love, support, and God everywhere. She loves everyone and is an inspiration to all.  Who knew almost dying could have this effect on everyone.

133804 [CC BY 2.0 (]Bethany Hamilton is a special person that had something crazy happen to her. It would’ve been totally understandable if she was terrified to ever surf again, but no, she didn’t stop for a second. She is unstoppable.  “Bethany Hamilton was a 13-year-old surfer, and one of the best amateurs in the United States, when she was bitten by a shark while surfing in October of 2003.”("Bethany Hamilton." Gale) She lost her left arm in the attack, but quickly recovered and resumed her competitive surfing career. What's more, the celebrity Hamilton gained from her accident and subsequent recovery paved the way for her to embark on a new career as an author, motivational speaker, and occasional film and television personality. Hamilton starred in the 2018 documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, which chronicled her life before and after becoming a professional surfer."(“Bethany Hamilton.") I cannot think of anyone with enough courage that can have a traumatic incident like that and still do it again weeks later. What happened to her has paved her entire life for greatness, and it’s courageous people like her that make all of it possible. Since Hamilton was young she has been on a board. Most of her courage comes from all the experience and happiness the ocean has given her. She is not going to let one incident stop her from having that no matter how big. Hamilton began real stand-up surfing when she was five years old. In the beginning, her parents would help her by pushing her into the waves, but she started when she was 7 by herself. She was always aware that there was a dangerous side to the ocean. While she believes that "surfing is a pretty safe sport," she has also been "bounced" off the sharp coral of the sea bottom after wiping out (falling off the board). In some cases, the force of a big wave has held her down under the water for a long period of time. "For a few minutes you become a little panicky," she said of such incidents, "and the thought 'I might drown' enters your mind. Then the wave lets you up again and you can breathe and you forget you were scared." Hamilton also knew that there were sharks lurking in the sea, but she and her friends didn't worry about them too much. "We were afraid of them," she said, "but we didn't really think anything would happen to us." At a young age she was aware of the dangers of the sea and even as a 5 year old she could face the fear of getting hurt and became the surfer she is today. She goes into depth of what goes through her head sometimes when she gets stuck, but she says that once your up you forget you were even scared, this girl is amazing. Coming back after the shark attack, Bethany found success in surfing competition; now she makes her mark as a professional surfer in the free surfing arena (chasing waves, getting photos/videos published, and “Living The Search”). She competes in choice World Surf League (WSL) tour events, upon invite, and in other special events. In 2016 alone, Bethany’s capacity to inspire reached new heights as she beat a six-time world champion and the top-ranked surfer in the world at a major WSL competition. By overcoming some of the hardest challenges and relentlessly pursuing her passion through faith, she has become one of the leading professional surfers of all time. In 2017, she was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame. (“The Inspirational Quotes by Bethany Hamilton.”) After the attack she put all her energy into training and found success in surfing competitions again. Honestly, no one has as much courage as Hamilton to be able to get back in water where she lost her arm. It’s amazing.

Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration because she is passionate. Hamilton didn’t stop for a second. As soon as she could walk all she wanted to do was get back on her board no matter if she was a little scared or not.  Despite her injury, Hamilton wanted to surf again right away. However, she first had to recover, and then learn how to balance on a surfboard in a new way. Hamilton began surfing again about three weeks later, and competed for the first time in early 2004. She finished fifth in her age group at the Open Women's Division of the National Scholastic Surfing Association meet in Hawaii.("Bethany Hamilton.") After Bethany’s accident she easily could have given up and never surfed again but she was so dedicated and passionate about what she did that it took her only three weeks to get on a board again. She beat all odds and did not let one tragic accident stop her from doing what she loves. Since Hamilton could walk she has had a passion for being on a board out on the water. She has so much natural talent and a lot of that comes from her strong love for surfing. Hamilton's first surfing contests were "push-and-ride" competitions, where parents assist the children. At age eight, she was ready for the more advanced meets where she would be on her own for the entire ride. The first of these was the Rell Sun competition, which is held on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Hamilton took first place in both divisions she entered (shortboard and longboard) and went home with two trophies and two new surfboards. Soon, Hamilton became a regular on the amateur surfing circuit, and she continued to rack up wins. Her family encouraged her to work toward a career as a professional surfer--one of the select group of athletes who earn their living by competing in meets. It was a long-term goal--most people don't become professionals until they're adults--but Hamilton began a serious training program to make it happen.  normally when kids are young, they learn how to ride a bike. But no, Bethany got a surfboard and competed. She was a natural and did so well at the competitions. It was evident that surfing is what she was meant to do in life. Surfing has been a way of life for Bethany since she was able to get on a board. She sees her passion for surfing as a gift from God and as what compelled her to go back to the sport against all odds.(“The Inspirational Quotes by Bethany Hamilton.”) Hamilton would not be herself without surfing. It shapes her as a mom, friend, and person. Surfing is a way of life for her not a hobby.

Through her positivity, courage, and passion that makes everything possible, Bethany Hamilton is an Inspiration to all. Bethany Hamilton, through everything, never gave up on what makes her happy. She perseveres through the hard times and thrives through the easy ones. Her family and friends never stopped supporting her and God is such a big part of her life. He helped her trust him to follow his path and she knew it would all work out in the end, just like it has. Bethany shows me that failing and trying again is better than not trying at all. She obviously had trial and error when it comes to learning how to surf again. But it is evident that if you try and try again it will all work out. Bethany is truly an inspiration to everyone. Everyone knows her story and she has done such a great job of spreading god and her story to show that you don’t have to let things stop you. She is proof that there is more to life than fear of what could go wrong. God has a plan and she proves that.

“Bethany Hamilton.” Bethany Hamilton (Biography Today), Jan. 2010, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

"Bethany Hamilton." Gale Biography in Context, Gale, 2005. Biography In Context,, Editor at. “The Inspirational Quotes by Bethany Hamilton.” Surfertoday,

Page created on 5/13/2019 2:43:29 AM

Last edited 5/19/2019 4:38:43 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 official website - This website is made by Bethany Hamilton herself where she can share her story, inspire others, and raise money and awareness for others.
Bethany Hamilton - This is a database written about Bethany Hamilton and her story.

Extra Info