Bethany Hamilton grew up in Hawaii where she picked up surfing at a very young age. She was also introduced to the gospel at around the same time. At the age of 8, Bethany entered her first surf competition and won both the short and long board divisions! That sparked a love for competitive surfing within her spirit.
When she was 13 years old, Bethany was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai's North Shore. Even though she lost over 60% of her blood and had to undergo several surgeries, her strong water sense and faith in God got her through the whole ordeal. The attack however did left her with a severed left arm.
The accident did not stop her from surfing. She continued to surf and shares her story of hope and inspiration to people who are going through hard times through her book and movie, Soul Surfer.
Bethany sees her incredible passion for surfing as a gift from God. He often takes the things that we love to do and uses it to shine His light to others around us. That was what happened for Bethany.
Upon realizing that her arm is not coming back and that the sharks are not going to disappear, Bethany decided to take the plunge and try surfing again - not just to surf for leisure, but to surf competitively too.
She wants to remind people who also have different "shark attacks" in their life to get back on their "surf boards" and keeping pushing through to do what they love to do.
With her new book, Body and Soul, Bethany wants to encourage young girls in their faith and health. As teenagers, they are transiting into a different phase, stepping into womanhood. Many times, this a considered an awkward period as changes to the body, mind and emotions occurs. It is a huge challenge for girls.
The book aims to encourage girls to take care of their bodies and be comfortable in their bodies. We need to make healthy choices when it comes to food as our bodies are the temple of God.
Even though Bethany looks like she has everything in control, she openly admits that there are days when she struggles. The reason why she is always able to radiate God's light and joy is simply because she knows that God's truth never changes. Jesus Christ died on the cross for her and for everyone too.
That in itself was sufficient for her no matter what she faces.