Girl crush: Bethany Hamilton

After losing her left arm to a shark, Hamilton not only kept surfing but launched a line of lip products that can be used with one hand.


Catherine Price
May 27, 2008 9:05PM (UTC)

I don't know about you, but if I had my arm bitten off by a shark while surfing, it would take me a hell of a long time (like, maybe forever?) before I wanted to jump back in the water. Not so for Bethany Hamilton, the professional surfer who, when she was 13 years old, had her arm bitten off by a 14-foot tiger shark. After passing out and losing 60 percent of her blood -- not to mention her arm -- she immediately announced (once she had regained consciousness) that she intended to surf again. Since then, Hamilton -- who's now 18 -- took first place in the Explorer Women's Division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships, and third in the 2008 Roxy Pro Women's Surf Festival. What's more, she's done so without accepting any handicaps for the fact that she has only one arm. Dude.

If you check out her Web site (turn off your speakers if you're at work), it's obvious that Hamilton has done a lot more since her accident than just surf. There's a movie being made of her life (coming out in 2008) and she's got a whole series of books that combine her surfing spirit with her devotion to Jesus (Hamilton is also a born-again Christian). She has also launched two surf-inspired fragrances, Stoked and Wired, and just came out with a line of lip products, also called Stoked, that you can open and close with one arm. (A percentage of the proceeds go to the children's charity World Vision.)

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A line of lip gloss isn't, of course, going to change the world. But kudos to Hamilton for not just making it through the shark attack but demonstrating that losing an arm doesn't preclude you from being a badass. And if that includes starting a line of lip glosses that might be useful to anyone who's missing a hand or suffering from arthritis, all the better.


Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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