We are living in unprecedented, difficult times, and in these trying weeks we need all the uplifting, inspiring stories of humanity that we can get. One of these is the life of Bethany Hamilton, a world-champion surfer with a crazy story of how she got to the top.
As if becoming the world champion of any sport isn’t hard enough, Bethany accomplished this feat with only one arm.
After an encounter with a shark while she was surfing resulted in the loss of her arm in 2003, she didn't let herself give up on her life’s greatest passion.
Within two years of her attack, and with intense training, Bethany became a national surf champion.
A documentary about her life and accomplishments was released on Netflix, and we recommend watching Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable to learn more about her amazing story.
Keep reading to find out what Bethany’s been up to since filming her documentary, and get the inside scoop on if she's still competing today.
What is Bethany Hamilton doing today?
Following the shark attack that changed her life, Bethany has continued to compete as a surfer. In 2022, the surf legend has been named Stephanie Gilmore's replacement in WSL's Billabong Pro Pipeline competition. Bethany competed as a wildcard after Stephanie was forced to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19.
"I'm just stoked to be here; it's amazing to have the opportunity, there is also such great energy on the beach, everybody showing love," she said, per 7 News.
Now, in 2022, Bethany Hamilton is the mother of three sons.
In the documentary Unstoppable, Bethany finds new direction in her life when she learns that she’s pregnant a year into filming. She and her husband Adam Dirks, who married in 2013, eventually welcomed three sons to the world: Tobias, in 2015, Wesley, in 2018, and Micah in 2021.
Although Bethany has dealt with a lot over the years, she’s open about the fact that she finds everyday struggles, like raising her boys, the hardest to contend with. She even faces the occasional challenge of getting her sons to enjoy the water.
“You can’t just expect every kid to fall in love with the ocean at 5 years old and have no fear,” she said.
When did Bethany Hamilton lose her arm?
Bethany Hamilton is a Hawaii native and like most children who grew up on the islands, she grew up surfing from a young age. Unlike most of her friends, however, Bethany was a surfing prodigy and by her early teen years, she was a rising star in the sport.
However, at age 13, Bethany lost her arm in an encounter with a 15-foot tiger shark. Many thought that the accident would mark the end of her surfing career. She proved them wrong. A month after the attack, Bethany was back on her board and two years later, she won her first national surfing title.
Bethany has credited her deep faith with what compelled her to get back to her life’s greatest passion: surfing.
After dominating surfing championships, Bethany now makes a living as a professional surfer in the free surfing arena, while still competing professionally.
With consistent hard work and after overcoming challenge after challenge, Bethany is one of the world’s leading professional surfers of all time. In 2017, she was even inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame.
Watch her inspiring documentary, Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, now streaming on Netflix.