Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks (born February 8, 1990) is an American professional surfer. Raised in a surfing family, along with older brothers, Hamilton learned to handle the waves at an early age. She began competitive surfing at age 8, and by age 9 she had earned her first sponsorship. At only 13 years old, a tiger shark bit Hamilton’s left arm off.
Hamilton resumed surfing just one month after the attack, her determination helping to keep the story alive in the news cycle. Her 2004 autobiography, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, became a bestseller, and she was honored for her courage by MTV, ESPN and the United States Sports Academy.
Even more important, Hamilton demonstrated that the loss of an arm was no obstacle to fulfilling her surfing goals. She won the Explorer Women’s division at the 2005 NSSA National Championships, and began competing on the pro circuit in 2007.
Bethany Hamilton was an avid surfer before her injury, and she remained an avid surfer after this incident happened. As a matter of fact, not only is Bethany Hamilton still an avid surfer, but she is also a professional surfer who inspires people all over the world.
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