Bethany Hamilton By: Catherine and Sage

Early Life

Bethany Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990, in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. She began her surfing career at the age of 8. She earned her first sponsorship at 9. She was raised in a family of five, who were all passionate about surfing.

How It Happened....

On October 31, 2003 (Halloween) along Tunnels Beach in Ha'eana with her best friend Alana Blanchard, Bethany got her left arm bitten by a 14 foot tiger shark (that's scary especially for Halloween.) She was lying on her board at the moment when she felt immense impact on her arm. The moment happened so abruptly that she felt no pain. She realized she had been bit when she was surrounded by red water.


The loss of her arm impacted her life a lot. She could no longer do everyday things like: cooking, cleaning, surfing, and things she would do in her daily routine. Normally most people would give up, however she swore to herself that she would get back to surfing again.

The loss of Bethany's arm also had a great effect on her family. Knowing that their loved one could no longer do the things that she aspired to do was absolutely heart breaking. Imagine having a little sister who's only dream was to be a profesional surfer, and that dream was snatched away from her in seconds. (Actually it was snatched from a shark but same thing.) It kind of makes you feel more thankful for everything you have.

Approximately a month later Bethany returned to the waters. It obviously wasn't very easy surfing with one arm. Her determination kept her going. The challenge is pretty easy to explain, she obviously could've given up on surfing since she could hardly even do everyday things.


We should not take the simple things in life such as walking or grabbing something for granted. Some people don't have arms or legs. Everyday people lose their ability to achieve the goals they have aspired to do. However, people with the ability to actually move decide to live their life inactively.

We have a tendency to get lazy or give up while playing sports. Sometimes we just have to remember that there are people like Bethany Hamilton who have disabilities, who are working twice as hard as we are. We all have goals, some of have an easier route when others have the harder way in life. What we learned from this story is that we should appreciate what we have no matter how simple or irrelevant it may seem.

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