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Birth name: Bethany Meilani Hamilton.
Born: February 8, 1990 North Shore, Kauai, USA.
Bethany Hamilton biography (bio):
Bethany Meilani Hamilton is an American surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which she lost her left arm, and for overcoming the serious and debilitating injury to return to surfing.
Hamilton was born in North Shore, Kauai. Both of her parents were keen surfers who moved to Hawaii from the continental United States for the surfing opportunities. Hamilton was taught how to surf by her parents when she was 4 years old. Her surfing abilities progressed very quickly and, while still in grade school, she won first place in the "push and ride" division of a Quicksilver surfing contest. She entered her first major competition at the age of 8, the "Rell Sun" contest on the island of Oahu at Makaha beach, competing in the girls seven to nine shortboard, and seven to nine longboard, taking first place in both. Her senior career as a surfer started when she won the 1999 Haleiwa Menehune Championships 23rd annual contest, in February, 2000. In this competition, she placed 1st in the "11-under girls", 1st in the "15-under girls," and 2nd in the "12-under boys" division at the Volcom Puffer Fish contest. She picked up a sponsor, Rip Curl, which aided her with her plans of becoming a professional surfer. Hamilton is also a devout Christian who uses her shark attack experience in her personal ministry.
Shark attack and recovery:
On October 31, 2003, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai with friends Alana, Byron and Holt Blanchard. Around 7:10 a.m., she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14ft tiger shark attacked her, ripping her left arm off just below the shoulder. Her friends helped her paddle back to shore, and fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash around what was left of her arm before rushing her to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Just ten weeks after the incident, she returned to her board and went surfing again. She adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker which made it easier to paddle. She has observed that she has to kick a lot harder to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, she has again begun surfing competitively.
In July of 2004 Hamilton won the ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete of the Year. She was presented with a special courage award at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards. Hamilton still aspires to become a professional surfer.
Since the attack, Hamilton has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show, as well as in People and Time. In 2004, MTV Books published Hamilton's book, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, which describes her ordeal.
Heart of a Soul Surfer:
The 2007 short subject documentary film, Heart of a Soul Surfer was directed by Becky Baumgartner and is currently appearing in film festivals around the world. Described as a "faith-based documentary", the film portrays the true, coming of age story of Bethany Hamilton. Addressing Hamilton's courage in the aftermath of the loss of her arm in a tiger shark attack, the film follows Hamilton's quest for spiritual meaning and purpose.