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Bethany Hamilton: A Shark Attack Survivor

1142 words - 5 pages

“The United States averages just 16 shark attacks each year and slightly less than one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the Coastal U.S. states alone, lightning kills more than 41 people each year” (Handwerk). Not man people can say that they have been attacked by a shark, or even know someone who has. The story is not the same for Bethany Hamilton. She is a shark attack survivor. When the odds of her surfing again were against her, she proved them wrong.
Bethany Meilani Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990. She lives in Kauai, Hawaii with her parents Thomas and Cherilyn, her two brothers Noah and Timothy, and her dog Ginger. Bethany went to a public school until the fourth grade when her mother pulled her out to home school her. Being homeschooled allowed Bethany time to surf as a career, and it let her travel. She had the same work as an average high school student, but home school allowed her to do her assignments on her time. Bethany’s love for surfing began when she was young. She was taught to surf by her parents at the innocent age of four. Her love for the water sport quickly grew into a passion, and eventually a career. A huge part of Bethany is her faith. Bethany and her family go to North Shore Community Church. Bethany took the huge step of accepting Jesus Christ into her heart to be her personal savior at the age of five. Bethany says, “Doing things with my Christian friends is an important part of my life, because it really is encouraging to have others who, like me, want to be close to God” (Soul Surfer).At age eight, Bethany was entered into her first state wide surfing competition, at that competition, she won both the short and long board divisions. Bethany’s love and amazement for the sport grew even bigger thereafter. Bethany’s exuberant attraction to the sport showed through to others. In 1999, Bethany received her first sponsorship from Rip Curl and Tim Carroll Surfboards.
By the age of 13 Bethany had attended numerous surf competitions. She loved being in the water. One of her favorite times is when she is with her best friend Alana Blanchard. Alana too is homeschooled. It was a normal day on October 31, 2003. Bethany, Alana, Alana’s brother Byron, and Alana’s dad Holt all went to Tunnels Beach, which is on Kauai’s North Shore. It was early in the morning, because they were trying to catch the best waves. One minute they were surfing, and the next minute, there was this massive pool of red blood surrounding Bethany. A fifteen foot Tiger Shark took a sixteen inch bite out of Bethany and her surf board. She said, “I didn’t even scream” (Soul Surfer). Holt swam and tied the wound with his surfboard leash. It was still a 20 minute paddle back to shore. Alana’s brother Byron had to run to go call 911. Luckily, after they got to the shore the people around knew what was going on. There just so happened to be a paramedic on the beach at that time. Another by standard went and got a first aid kit so that...

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