Female Athlete | Living with a Disability | Advocating for her Community
Bethany Hamilton is an inspiring professional surfer. In 2008 she was ranked 14th in the world, in 2016 she beat a six-time world champion at a major WSL competition and in 2017 she was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame. But there’s something that makes her different from her competitors: she only has one arm.
At age 13, Bethany was attacked by a shark and her left arm had to be amputated. Just 26 days after this traumatic event, she returned to surfing, inspiring many with her courageousness and determination. She went on to have a successful surfing career and uses her platform to inspire others. Apart from her surfing decorations, her career highlights have included authoring multiple books, starring in the 2018 biopic Unstoppable all about her journey and motivating audiences through public speaking at events.
How did she overcome so many obstacles? How did she achieve all this? Here’s what she tells people when they ask:
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.
Whatever your situation might be, set your mind to whatever you want to do and put a good attitude in it, and I believe that you can succeed. You are not going to get anywhere just sitting on your butt and moping around.
It’s not all about competing and being the best. It’s more about having fun and just doing what you love.
Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, and guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”
Now 32 years old and a proud mother of three, Bethany continues to share her story and advocate for females in sport, overcoming adversity and healthy living.
Her story is one that the Books Unbound team are incredibly inspired by, not only because of her achievements, but also because of her commitment to sharing her story and empowering others.
Knowledge sharing and community-based learning are fundamental to our mission at Books Unbound because we believe together is always stronger than apart. We hope that stories like Bethany’s can inspire those that have difficult hurdles ahead.