“My name is Bethany Hamilton I became a Christian when I was 5 years old, and now I
surf for Jesus.” ... Check out the exclusive interview movie below...
“My whole family is into surfing. Living on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, pretty much your whole life is spent around the beach.”
“My accident (the shark attack) has brought a few challenges into my life. I have had to travel to the mainland to be on TV shows and do interviews, so having to leave Kauai and my friends and missing school is sometimes a challenge I have to overcome. It is a good thing though because I get a chance to tell others about God.”
“Sometimes it is also hard to talk to those who are anti- God, but I’m learning that you just gotta go for it and be a good example.”
“After the accident happened I didn’t know for the first couple of days if I would ever surf again. After a while though, because I love surfing so much, I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d be back out in the water again.”
“Surfing has been really challenging since my accident. Like getting up on my surfboard with just one arm and using one arm to paddle back out through wave after wave. I’m definitely getting more used to it though. At first it was really difficult. Also, the fear of always looking over my shoulder is a challenge.”
“People ask me if surfing is dangerous. Surfing is not that dangerous compared to driving in a car. There are way more car accidents than surfing injuries, 98% of the time you are not going to get hurt on a surfboard.”
Family and friends are very important to this young extreme athlete. Bethany told me that when she feels down or discouraged her family and friends are always there to support her. Since day one her Dad, Tom and mother Cheri have put all their time, and energy into their daughter’s competitive dreams. They all joke about how she was born with salt water in her veins, remembering how at age 5 she entered her first surf contest and by 9 already had her mind set on turning pro. Bethany’s brother are rad too- Noah is 22 and her official photographer, Tim is 17 and her videographer, both capturing images that are shown on TV stations and in publications around the world. This family is tight. They back her up and give Bethany all the love and encouragement she needs.
Christian ministry is also really important to Bethany. She enthusiastically shares her excitement about using surfing and her shark attack experience as a platform to minister for God. During our interview she said, “I don’t think I would be getting all this attention from the media if I didn’t go back out there and surf. A lot of people take interest in surfing. The way I look at it is if I didn’t go back out and surf then a lot of people wouldn’t get to hear about God.”
Bethany is young in years, but she demonstrates a mature faith in Christ. The advice she gives to anyone experiencing a crises or facing tragedy is to, “stick with what you are doing and don’t give up. If you go through a hard time, having God by your side makes it a lot easier. God has so much more to offer than the world.”
While in the hospital a friend gave Bethany a scripture that has become her favorite Bible verse.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11 (NIV)