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Bethany Hamilton

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Christian Leader of the Month

Bethany Hamilton

Professional Surfer

CBN.comBethany Hamilton’s story is proof that a single act of courage still has the power to become a source of inspiration for so many. At the age of 13, the competitive surfer was attacked by a tiger shark off the coast of Hawaii, resulting in the loss of her left arm. Many feared this would be the end of her promising career, but Bethany persevered, letting her dedication to the sport—and to God—guide her back to the water.

Today, Bethany continues riding the waves professionally, participating and placing in competitions worldwide. In her spare time, she teaches children at Walking on Water surf camps and helps fundraise for local charities. Bethany’s story was told in this year’s critically acclaimed film, Soul Surfer. The movie, based on her autobiography, showcases her extraordinary life, her unbreakable spirit and, most importantly, her unwavering faith.

On finding strength in faith after her attack:

“It was Jesus who gave me peace when the shark severed my arm. I trust in Jesus whenever I’m going through a hard time. I see all the beautiful things that have come out of my situation. I’m able to share my story with young girls who have few role models, and I can help others cope with what they have been through. Even if they don’t surf, people can benefit from my story.”

On how God plays a role in her sport:

“God created the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the waves for our enjoyment. Surfing is just my way of worshipping Him.”

Youth Leader Sarah Hall on Bethany’s commitment to her faith:

“Bethany has spoken to my group at church, as well as to larger audiences. She’s taken what has happened to her and has just followed through with her commitment to the Lord. She’s totally dedicated, and it’s wonderful to see that in someone so young.”

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