Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of faith, determination, health, and hope. Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of eight, Bethany entered her first surf competition, the Rell Sun Menehune event on Oahu, where she won both the short and long board divisions. This sparked a love for surf competition within her spirit.
At the age of thirteen, on October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauais North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm. After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Lifeguards and doctors believe her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through the traumatic ordeal.
Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. In January of 2004, Bethany made her return to surf competition; placing 5th in the Open Womens division of that contest. With no intention of stopping, Bethany continued to enter and excel in competition. Just over a year after the attack she took 1st place in the Explorer Womens division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships winning her first National Title.
In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro. Bethany has since participated in numerous ASP and World Tour Events with her major highlight being a second place finish in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships.
Since losing her arm, Bethany’s story has been told in hundreds of media outlets and she has been recognized with numerous awards, public appearances, and various speaking engagements. In October 2004, Bethany shared her life story in her autobiography entitled Soul Surfer. Seven years later, the book was made into a major motion picture bearing the same title which released theatrically in April, and for home entertainment in August, 2011. Other books Bethany has written include Devotions for the Soul Surfer, Rise Above, A Soul Surfer ￼
Bible, Ask Bethany, and Clash, Burned, Storm, and Crunch. Further, Bethany was the inspiration behind Becky Baumgartner’s 2007 documentary entitled Heart of a Soul Surfer. From a young age, Bethany’s parents instilled their faith in Jesus Christ; and at age 5, she made the decision to have a personal relationship with Him. Bethany/s foundation of faith has been her backbone; her source of truth, hope, and strength.
Out of the water, Bethany has grown from a young teenage girl with aspirations of becoming a professional surfer into a twenty-year old professional surfer with aspirations of becoming a beacon of inspiration and hope. Through the platform of professional sport, Bethany has been able to touch a large number of people with her message, charitable efforts, and overall spirit. Bethany just launched her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports shark attack survivors, traumatic amputees, and serves to inspire others through her life story, and is involved in numerous other charitable efforts.
Bethany’s story is continually growing as she strives to be the best at whatever God calls her to do. The future is truly wide open for this young soul surfer!
“Bethany and Adam, thank you for sharing your stories and faith with us yesterday. It was a high point in what has been a difficult season for our school community. It did my heart good to see the smiles on faces of teachers, alumni, parents and students as they took pictures with you and as you shared your story. Adam, thank you for sharing during the interview time-it was great to get a brief view as to how God has woven you and Bethany together”.
Aimee Griffin – Fourth Presbyterian School, Maryland, March 2014
“Our community loved having her, her genuine heart and her powerful story pointing to Jesus was just what we were looking for. It was wonderful to experience it all, aside from the crazy crowds it was well worth it!”
Alam Fowble – Real Life Church, California, March 2014
“I just wanted to share with you what an awesome time we had with Bethany. It was fun. We had a blast. We had a PACKED house. Adam even went up on stage and talked about respect and the importance of guys being a spiritual leader for girls. We absolutely want to bring Bethany back next year”.
David Stump – First United Methodist Church, Florida, October 2013
“We had a great time with Bethany and Adam. Our attendance was great- we had a 1000 tickets that sold out in 22 minutes!”
Chris Gingrasso – Real Life Christian Church, Florida, October 2013
“The event was amazing!! Bethany did such a great job of sharing her story she was just shining with the love of Jesus! Over 50 ladies raised their hands to accept Jesus. There were many unsaved ladies and one story was a mother and her daughter came up and accepted the Lord together. We loved Bethany and were so blessed to meet her. There were around 2000 ladies there on Friday night; we had a very good turn out”.
Cathy Focht – Calvary Chapel Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 2013
“We had such a wonderful time with Bethany. She is a treasure. She shared so much wisdom with the teens. I especially enjoyed how she invited their questions, then took her time to answer from her heart. Thank you for asking. I hope Bethany had a good experience too. She and Adam were both a joy to know”.
Amy Barnett – Operation Hedgehog, Florida, May 2013
“It was an awesome weekend. We had a record number of adults on campus (3000 seat room full and 3 overflows-every chair on our campus used). We had just short of 11k in attendance and over 1k online. Bethany was such a connection with”our friends and neighbors (and our church people). It was incredible”.
Doug Parks – Canyon Ridge Church, Nevada, April 2013
“First, it was our honor and privilege to have Bethany with us. What an amazing night it was. It was packed, a full house with many eager to hear from her. Bethany is truly a lovely woman”.
Jared Mcghie – Hope Unlimited Church, Australia, February 2013