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Bethany Hamilton Had Her Arm Bitten Off By A Shark, But What Is She Up To Today?

Updated September 23, 2021 6.5k views12 items
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On October 31, 2003, 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton was surfing the waves off the coast of her native Hawaii when a 14 foot tiger shark attacked and bit off most of her left arm. Most people in that situation would be done with surfing. Not Bethany Hamilton. She did not let her disability get in the way of achieving her dream of becoming a professional surfer. Bethany Hamilton after the shark attack has been nothing short of inspirational.

Surfing is not easy to begin with - now imagine how difficult it would be with just one arm. Bethany had to re-learn how to surf, going back to square one and figuring out how to catch waves all over again. However, Hamilton was determined to not just surf again, but to be one of the best female surfers in the world, competing and ultimately winning on a professional level.

These amazing stories about Bethany Hamilton revolve around her faith. She is not just a professional surfer but also a wife, mother, motivational speaker, community leader, and entrepreneur. The facts about Bethany Hamilton and her incredible strength and resilience are so inspiring that a feature length movie called Soul Surfer was made about her life. Not all horrible stories end in tragedy, and Bethany’s tale of bravery and perseverance proves just that.

  • Bethany And Her Husband Competed On Amazing Race

    Photo: Amazing Race / CBS

    In 2014, Hamilton and her husband Adam competed on the CBS reality show The Amazing Race. Out of 11 teams, the Soul Surfers (Hamilton and Adam's team name) finished in third place. Hamilton was happy with their finish:

    "I think going into it, we were like, "Let's not come in last." But we knew we had the ability to get to the finals and possibly win. You take it one leg at a time. I think not getting ahead of ourselves helped us. Overall, it was incredible. Third place isn't so bad."


  • She Has A Documentary Coming Out In 2018 Called Unstoppable

    Video: YouTube

    Production started for Hamilton's documentary Unstoppable in the summer of 2017. It is slated to come out in 2018. Directed by Aaron Lieber, the film highlights Hamilton's challenging journey as a mother and professional surfer. The project was able to get off the ground thanks to a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which, as of December 2017, is still accepting donations.

    Hamilton seems most happy that her fans will finally get to see high quality footage of her surfing at a professional level. "It’s almost like my surfing has been overshadowed by being a shark attack survivor and being known as Soul Surfer,” she said.

  • She Appeared In The Movie Dolphin Tale 2

    Video: YouTube

    Hamilton hit the big screen again in 2014 when she appeared as herself in the family drama Dolphin Tale 2. The movie's story centers on a rescued dolphin named Winter who has a prosthetic tail. Producers reached out to Hamilton because they felt that Winter's story aligned with the surfer's.

    When Hamilton read the script, she could immediately appreciate Winter's saga. "I guess what I like about the whole story is the kind of the teamwork and community of the people who are passionate about ocean animals and rescue and release, and then like Winter's story of course, the fact that she can live without her tail, it's amazing, and I really appreciate Winter and the community around her."

  • Hamilton Is Married With Children


    A post shared by Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) on


    The surfer married youth pastor Adam Dirks on August 17, 2014 in Kauai, Hawaii. Later that same year, Hamilton became pregnant with the couple's first child. Their son Tobias was born in June of 2015.

    Having a family did not stop Hamilton from continuing to train and compete on a pro level. The surfer credits time management to her success. Even though Hamilton says that most female surfers stop competing on a professional level after having a family, she doesn't believe that has to be the case for her. Hamilton's husband helps out a lot because he is a stay-at-home dad.

    As of December 2017, Hamilton is currently expecting her second child and plans to keep surfing until she's six months pregnant. She explained how important exercise is to a healthy pregnancy:

    "I listen to my body and instinct, though too. The ocean and surfing is so healthy; it is uplifting, and that is always a good thing while pregnant. I also maintain my normal workout regime until about I’m four or five months along, and then I mellow things out. Later in pregnancy, I've enjoyed low-impact workouts, swimming, biking and lots of stretching for body alignment. It’s important to me to stay healthy - for me and the baby. Plus, it’s just who I am. I stay motivated, as well, because I want to bounce back fast so I can get back to surfing strong."