SOUL SURFER: THE STORY OF BETHANY HAMILTON

di Erika Scafuro

 

It was a warm Halloween day in Hawaii islands and nothing bode bad news. For Bethany Hamilton, who was 13 years old, it started out as a normal day as she woke up and went surfing as usual.
She was increasingly establishing herself as a professional surfer and her life was all about achieving this result, training every day surfing the Hawaiian waves.
That day became the one that changed her life forever.

As told in the touching movie dedicated to her, Soul Surfer directed by Sean McNamara, that day of late October 2003 waves were nothing special, but Bethany decided to paddle together with her best friend Alana Blanchard and Alana’s father and brother. They were surfing in Tunnels, along the Napali coast of Kauai island, it was the safest place to surf. Then everything happened in few seconds: Bethany was on the surfboard paddling and she remembers seeing the clear water around her turn bright red with her blood. She never saw the shark closing in on her.

 

 

When Bethany saw her arm had bitten off almost to the shoulder, as told by Alana Blanchard later, her reaction was totally under control: Bethany said she got attacked by a shark and started to paddle towards the beach. Nobody of them lost their head, they knew that the first thing to do was to reach the beach quickly.
After the first aid on the beach, Bethany was rushed to the hospital where she knew from doctors that she lost her left arm.

From the accident Bethany reacted with resilience and faith, she never fell down finding a way to stay alive and continue to do what she loved most, surfing.
Also when she realized she might never be able to surf again, she confessed to her father the possibility of becoming a surf photographer to continue to enjoy surfing. This possibility never came true because just a month after the accident, after the surgery and treatment Bethany gets back to the ocean trying to surfing with an arm. She found the strenght that has always made her think she was born to surf and the deep faith of Bethany has been crucial to accepting the accident as an opportunity.

 

 

It was Thanskgiving day and on Bethany’s side, as the day of the attack, there was her best friend Alana Blanchard, such a sister for her. It’s impossible not to be moved to watch the videos of her return in the water, concentrated on catching a wave and getting up on her feet.
At the end Bethany returned to compete surf competitions; she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a professional surfer, her determination teach us to never stop believing in the power of our dreams.

 

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