Bethany Hamilton eyes 2021 WSL Championship Tour

March 10, 2020 | Surfing
Bethany Hamilton: the American surfing legend wants to qualify for the WSL Championship Tour in 2021 | Photo: Dunbar/WSL

Bethany Hamilton announced that she will compete on the 2020 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series.

The 30-year-old surfer wants to qualify for the WSL Women's Championship Tour in 2021.

Hamilton, who lost her left arm in 2003 in a shark attack incident in Kauai, is back competing on a full-time schedule.

"I feel I'm surfing better than ever. It's a special time in women's surfing with equal prize money and a lot of talent," explained Hamilton.

"When I was younger, I put a lot of time into competitive surfing. But then, in my 20s, I really just dabbled."

"Now, with two kids and a husband on my side, it will be interesting to be 30 years old and give it a stab."

Bethany Hamilton: she lost her left arm in 2003 after a shark attack | Photo: WSL

Her Last Hurrah

The unexpected announcement was made during the 2020 International Women's Day while competing at the Sydney Surf Pro in Australia.

Bethany Hamilton has her mindset tuned and knows what she has to do to join the elite of surfing next year.

"I know it only takes a couple of good results to qualify, so I'm not just here hanging out. I'm trying to connect the dots of my heat strategy," added the Hawaiian.

Today, Hamilton is an American icon and an inspiring sportswoman for millions of people across the world. But she has her feet on the ground.

"I'd love to qualify, but I'm okay with it either way it goes. I haven't had a good start in the first events of the season, but it's a long year."

Hamilton says she is still recovering from a broken elbow injury. So the focus is on trying to stay calm.

"It feels like it might be my last hurrah because I do want to have another kid at some point. So, I'll just go for it and have fun along the way," reveals the talented surfer.

Bethany Hamilton: the Hawaiian uses a custum-made surfboard equipped with a handle | Photo: WSL

Focusing on Small Waves

Bethany Hamilton is working with a Canadian trainer doing "some of the more unique training there is out there," but also with former CT campaigner, Ross Williams.

From a technical perspective, Hamilton will be focusing her training program on small waves because "it's easy to surf in good waves, and I must face small waves head-on, instead of ignoring it."

Surfing with one arm might be challenging, especially when duck diving and paddling for waves, but the Hawaiian has already proved to be unstoppable when it comes to overcoming hurdles.

She will be competing with custom-made surfboards equipped with a handle installed right below the nose.

In the last ten years, Bethany Hamilton occasionally competed in CT events as a wildcard. Her best result was a third-place finish in the 2016 Fiji Women's Pro.

The last time the Hawaiian goofy-footer competed on the QS with serious intentions was in 2010. In 2014, she won the Surf n Sea Pipeline Women's Pro.

Hamilton is a very religious person. So, she could very well be thinking that dreams are God's messages waiting to be realized.

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