Inspiring Person - Bethany Hamilton
Okay so, Bethany Hamilton is essentially THE person you think of when you hear 'inspiring'.
To be quite honest, I didn't really start learning about her until a few years ago when she and her husband Adam competed on a season of 'The Amazing Race'. I remembered hearing about her prior, but seeing her in action, and her determination as well as her positive spirit, really stuck with me.
Born in Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at the age of 2, competing at the age of 8, and was getting sponsorships at just 9 years old. She was good. On her way to becoming a pro surfer.
Suddenly, she's 13 years old hanging out on her surfboard in the ocean one morning, when a 14 ft. Tiger Shark comes up out of the blue and bites her left arm off, right up to the shoulder.
Not good. She lost over half of her blood volume. Looked death in the face.
But did she let that stop her? I'll give you one guess.
Not even 1 month after the traumatic shark attack, she began surfing again, with one arm. She had to completely relearn how to do it. To find new techniques to use so that she would still be able to paddle, and duck dive, and surf. But she did it!
There are some people who, under those same circumstances, would never go in the ocean again! They would let fear dictate the rest of their lives. But not Bethany, she had competitions to win.
Not only would she go on to tell her story in an autobiography (and then film), and give motivational talks around the world, but she kept getting better and better at her sport.
She competed in countless competitions and has received many awards and nominations.
Bethany was, and still is, passionate about the ocean and surfing.
When you're that passionate about something, nothing can get in your way.
She announced her first pregnancy, with her son Tobias, in 2015 and was still surfing well into it. (Which is only advisable if you have already been surfing for quite some time and are safe about it!). And she's currently pregnant with baby number 2! This recent blog post she wrote about moving her body during pregnancy is a really good read!
In this article, male surfer Kelly Slater had this to say about Bethany:
“The hardships she overcomes to perform at the level she does in the ocean is arguably unparalleled in men’s or women’s sport,” surfing legend Kelly Slater said of her performance in Fiji. “I think everyone should have a full surf with one arm strapped to their side and attempt not only to paddle out but put themselves in position at heavy spots like Pipe, Jaws, and Cloudbreak, and try to get up on a short board. I’m scared to try it myself and am ridiculously impressed with her talents.”
Anything is achievable. And perseverance is important.
So for anyone out there who may be injured, or feeling down about something and not sure if they can go on & succeed, for fear that it may be too hard, I'll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Bethany herself, "I don't need easy, I just need possible."
Bethany, you are incredible. And so, so inspiring.