Bethany Hamilton- Shark attack survivor
The world watched wide-mouthed when the professional surfer survived through an attack by the ferocious tiger shark and came forth to tell her story of survival. In the autumn of the year 2003, when Bethany Hamilton was just thirteen, the ace surfer, then just a juvenile, had gone for early morning surf along the sands of Tunnel Beach in Kauai, Hawaiian. She was accompanied by her best friend Alana, Alana’s father and brother to the beach. At around 7:30 am when she was lying flat on her surfboard with her left arm dangling into the water, a tiger shark as long as the 14-feet shark took her by surprise and chopped off her arm from just below the shoulder.
She claims she felt almost no pain when her arm was severed, rather she felt numb on the way to the hospital due to excessive blood loss. She was first given medical aid by Alana’s father who in order to stop the bleeding tied surf board leash at the rear end of her left limb. She lost 60% of her blood due to which she suffered from hypovelmia.
After staying three weeks away from the sea and tides, she was determined to come back to surf again. The trauma of the incident didn’t deter the little ones spirit and she hit the waves again. Initially she used a customized surf board with a handle to support her right arm and make it easier for her to paddle. Eventually she learnt to cover up the loss of her arm by teaching herself to kick more with just one arm to balance over the waves. Just after a year post the incident she entered a major competition and then there was no looking back for her. She participated in NSSA National Competition and won the first place apart from many other national and local competitions where she stood out for her capabilities and determination.
Post the attack as a survivor of shark-bite, she appeared many times on television and other media like magazines and books. A movie called ‘Soul Surfer’ was produced by her own manager which recalls the horrific and unforgettable incident of life and her post traumatic recovery. The name suited the young lady who defied her fears and limitations with courage and determination of an undaunted spirit.
In 2004, MTV Books published Bethany’s book namely Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board which describes her life before and after the shark attack and how she gradually got hold of her life as it was before. Media definitely had a space for her as she appeared in various reality shows like ‘Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?‘ and won $25,000 and also The Oprah Winfrey Show The Today Show, and The Tonight Show and The Biggest Loser and so on.
Hamilton got married to the youth minister Adam Dirks in 2012 and the duo became proud parents of a healthy baby boy in June this year.