Isn’t she amazing?
I often wonder if it was the near death experience that fuelled Bethany Hamilton’s drive to become such a stand out high-performance surfer, or if she would have done it anyway.
I wonder if she’s more or less afraid, in general, than before her accident?
Either way, there’s no question that she is one of the best all around female surfers on the planet, getting towed in and pulling in like very few women in the world can, or want to.
I had the privilege of hanging with Bethany on Oahu on a team trip as a grom for Rip Curl in 2003. It was about a month before her accident, and we got to share a bunch of waves on the South Shore, and surf in the China Uemura Longboard contest together.
Because we’d just met and had become fast friends on the trip, I got to speak with Bethany a few days or so after her accident, while she was still in the hospital. I couldn’t believe how un-rattled she sounded. How strong and clear she was. I can’t remember exactly what we said to each other now (it was more than a decade ago), but I definitely remember that feeling of certainty that she would be surfing again.
We haven’t spoken since that phone call, but I’ve been so proud to watch her inspire the world with her story and her bravery. She’s an awe-inspiring woman.
There’s a great feature about Bethany on Surfline.com now: