Bethany Hamilton: a prolific surfer blessed by the Aloha spirit | Photo: Sloane/WSL

Bethany Hamilton is one of the most popular sportswomen in the United States and the world.

She is followed by over 2.1 million fans on Facebook, 2.1 million on Instagram, 1.3 million people on Twitter, and 440,000 enthusiasts on TikTok.

As a shark attack survivor, Bethany Hamilton was able to turn adversity into an opportunity, help change the world, and inspire the lives of millions of girls and boys, women and men.

But the Hawaiian-born blonde is also a prolific surfer with dozens of trophies on her shelf and several best-selling books written.

Discover why she is such a magnetic person, skilled pro surfer, big wave rider, engaging public speaker, and active author.

Dive into the blue world of Bethany Hamilton, a unique human being with a deeply religious sentiment:

1. Bethany Meilani Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990, in Lihue, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai;

2. She is 5'11'' (1.80 meters) and weighs around 155 pounds (70 kilograms);

3. Her parents, Thomas and Cherilyn, had three children: Noah, Timothy, and Bethany, the youngest of the three siblings;

4. Hamilton was homeschooled from 6th grade and returned to school for high school;

5. She started surfing when she was 7;

6. Hamilton won her first-ever contest - the Rell Sunn Menehune - when she was only eight years old;

7. At the age of nine, she "signed" her first major sponsorship deals with Rip Curl and Tim Carroll Surfboards and kicked off a successful surf career;

8. At the age of 12, Bethany won the Open Women's Division of the NSSA National Championships;

9. On October 31, 2003, Bethany Hamilton went surfing with her best friend Alana Blanchard at Tunnels Beach and lost her left arm when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her;

10. The Hawaiian goofy-footer lost 60 percent of her blood but survived the shocking event. Blanchard's father used a surf leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding;

11. Despite losing one arm, Bethany returned to surfing only one month after the attack;

12. Hamilton's shark-bitten surfboard and bathing suit are on display at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California;

Soul Surfer: a story of faith, family and surfing

13. Two years later, Hamilton won the 2005 NSSA National Championships;

14. On August 18, 2013, Hamilton married Adam Dirks, a Christian youth minister, in front of 300 guests;

15. Bethany and Adam have three children: Tobias (June 2015), Wesley Phillip (March 2018), and Micah Ward (February 2021);

16. She surfed while six months pregnant with her first son, Tobias;

17. Her nicknames are B-Ham and Bethy;

Bethany Hamilton: one of the most inspiring surfers on the planet | Photo: Kirstin/WSL

18. The life of Bethany Hamilton has been poured into the biographical film "Soul Surfer," directed by Sean McNamara and released in 2011;

19. In 2007, Hamilton, her family, and friends founded Friends of Bethany, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to inspire and give hope to individuals through Jesus Christ;

20. Hamilton finished runner-up at the 2009 ASP World Junior Championships;

21. In 2014, Bethany was invited by Barack Obama to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast and won the Surf 'n' Sea Pipeline Women's Pro;

22. She has two Shar-Pei dogs: Hanalei "Hana," and Kombucha "Buch";

23. In 2016, Hamilton surfed one of the biggest waves of her life at Jaws;

24. Bethany Hamilton authored the books "Soul Surfer," "Soul Surfer Devotions," "Body and Soul," "Ask Bethany," "Rise Above: A 90-Day Devotional," and "Be Unstoppable: The Art of Never Giving Up";

25. She was named Waterman of the Year 2017 by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA);

26. Bethany starred in the movies "Heart Of A Soul Surfer," "Soul Surfer," "Surfs Like a Girl," "Unstoppable," and "Dolphin Tale 2":

27. How does she surf with one arm? Bethany Hamilton rides a standard shortboard with a small grip installed in the nose;

28. In the documentary "Unstoppable," the Hawaiian lands a frontside air reverse;

29. Hamilton's favorite phrase is "This is the life," and her favorite book is The Bible;

30. The Hawaiian blonde also likes to play tennis and practice TRX suspension training;

31. She loves papaya, steamed broccoli, and fresh coconut water, but her favorite recipe is pesto kale salad with a lot of extras in it;

32. Bethany Hamilton believes in the words of the Nicene Creed, a Christian statement of faith written in A.D. 325;

33. Bethany was one of the first surfers to get barreled at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch;

34. The American legend adapted her surfboards and developed her own unique duck diving method;

35. Hamilton and her husband Adam participated in the US TV series "The Amazing Race" and finished third;

36. In 2020, she announced that she would take one last shot at qualifying for the 2021 WSL Championship Tour;

37. In 2023, Bethany stood up against the transgender policy implemented by the World Surf League (WSL). Her controversial views generated a heated debate on whether male-born athletes should compete in women's divisions;

Words by Luís MP | Founder of

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