Survivor, surfer and serious slayer at life! As she celebrates her 26th birthday, we check out Bethany Hamilton’s incredible journey.
At 26 years old, it’s hard to believe the Hawaiian stunner has fit so much into her life.
Not only is she an accomplished surfer, an ESPY award-winner, a successful author, a prolific motivational speaker, charity worker and proud mother to son Tobais – she’s also the embodiment of a true survivor.
In 2003, when she was only 13, Bethany was attacked by a shark during a morning surf with her best friend at Tunnels Beach, Kauai, in Hawaii.
“All of a sudden this shark just came up, it was only like two-three seconds at the most. It jerked me back and forth and then it just let go and went under the water. Right at that moment, the first thing I saw was red water. I just started paddling in,” she recalled during a 2003 interview with Oprah.
“Right away I knew [I’d lost my arm],” she calmly remembered.
Indeed, the pro athlete’s left arm was savagely bitten off by a tiger shark. Close to death, she was rushed to hospital and lost 60% of her blood.
Miraculously, she made a full recovery and just four weeks later she was back in the water and surfing. “I knew I’d be back out there!”
Her story reads like that of a movie script, so it's no surprise that in 2011 it was brought to life on the big screen. Actress AnnaSophia Robb played Bethany in Soul Surfer and it was a hit at the box office.
Nearly 13 years since the attack, Bethany's positive disposition and can-do attitude is stronger than ever.
In 2013 she married her soul mate Adam Dirks and last year they welcomed a gorgeous baby boy called Tobias.
She's also continues to chase her big surf dreams and has conquered well-known spots such as Teahupoo in Tahiti, Banzai Pipeline and Pe'ahi, both of which are in Hawaii.
Click through the gallery to check out her most amazing moments!
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