Bethany Hamilton is no stranger to beating the odds. And now, the world-renowned surfer has done it again, when she pulled off a major upset over Memorial Day weekend, beating some of the best surfers in the world in Fiji.
Thirteen years ago, Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack while surfer in Hawaii. But instead of shying away from the ocean, Hamilton was catching waves again just three weeks later. On May 30, the 26-year-old finished third in the World Surf League’s Fiji Women’s Pro as a wildcard entry who was not even seeded among the top surfers, reported NBC’s “Today” show.
Back in 2010, the surfer talked to FCA Magazine about the movie telling her life story that was in production at the time—“Soul Surfer.” Hamilton’s strong faith in God helped her through the ordeal that put her on an international stage.
“In early October 2003, my mom and I started praying and asking God to use me and show me His purpose for my life,” Hamilton told FCA. “So, after the shark attack, I accepted that God allowed this to happen to me for a reason. … I want people to see where my hope and strength comes from: Jesus Christ. And hopefully they’ll consider having a relationship with God, too.”
Said Clay Meyer, FCA Magazine editor, “We are ‘stoked’—to use the surfer vernacular—for Bethany Hamilton and her awesome accomplishment. We absolutely love telling stories like Bethany’s, where the top athletes around the globe go about their lives and their sports with FCA values always at the core: Integrity, Teamwork, Serving and Excellence. We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for Bethany Hamilton.”
Hamilton has gone on to win a slew of surfing titles, and is and inspiration to athletes of all ages as more and more hear her incredible story. She’s also been featured in books, movies, television programs—including a third-place finish on “The Amazing Race” in 2014 with her husband, Adam Dirks—and is the face of cosmetic products. As a side note, Bethany and Adam’s son, Tobias, will celebrate his first birthday on June 1.
But Hamilton’s heart lies in making an impact that goes beyond the commercial success. She supports a long list of charities and organizations, has traveled with World Vision to help orphaned and injured children, has shared her story with wounded veterans, and has even stopped by an FCA event to sign books for young admirers.
“I think (God) is teaching me about grace and patience and to be bold about sharing my testimony,” Hamilton told FCA Magazine. “It’s truly humbling, but a blessing to have been given a platform to share my faith. God just opened up the door for me to talk about His love to people all around the world rather than what would have otherwise been just the surfing community. It’s pretty cool.”
This summer, FCA is gearing up for its 60th Camps season, with more than 600 camps planned in nearly every state across the country and in more than 35 countries around the world that will reach upwards of 100,000. FCA Surf (www.fcasurf.org) has a variety of surfing Camps planned in New Jersey in three locations over multiple weeks. Learn more here. Additional surf camps are also planned for California in Del Mar, La Jolla and San Diego, Calif. For more Camp information, click here and search for “SURF.”
Photos: © Noah Hamilton / NoahHamiltonPhoto.com