Surfer Bethany Hamilton documents her daily life with just one arm, 19 years after shark attack


Bethany Hamilton has opened up how changing her mindset helped her adapt to doing daily tasks — including surfing — with one arm. 

The 32-year-old surfer, who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was 13, took to Instagram on Monday to share a video of herself caring for her children, working out, and cooking. 

‘Changing your mindset is free. Doesn’t mean it’s an easy or fast fix. It’s up to you to be honest with yourself and start working on it,’ she captioned the inspiring post. 

  

Bethany Hamilton, 32, took to Instagram on Monday to share an inspiring video showcasing everything she has learned to do after losing her left arm nearly two decades ago 

The surfer explained how changing her mindset helped her adapt to doing daily tasks with one arm

The surfer explained how changing her mindset helped her adapt to doing daily tasks with one arm

The surfer explained how changing her mindset helped her adapt to doing daily tasks with one arm 

Hamilton has found creative ways to continue her workouts, including using a foam roller to prop her left shoulder up while doing mountain climbers

Hamilton has found creative ways to continue her workouts, including using a foam roller to prop her left shoulder up while doing mountain climbers

The footage showcases all of the things Hamilton has learned to do with one arm over the years. 

She can be seen carrying a glass wedged between her neck and shoulder, putting her hair up in a messy bun, and cracking open an egg with one hand. 

Hamilton shares three sons — Tobias, seven, Wesley, four, and Micah, one — with her husband, Adam Dirks, and she included footage of herself caring for her boys. 

The athlete has also found creative ways to continue her workouts. She uses a foam roller to prop her left shoulder up while doing mountain climbers and has a special jump rope she can use with one hand. 

Hamilton was 13 when she was attacked by a shark while surfing off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 2003. She lost her arm as well as 60 per cent of the blood in her body. 

Hamilton uses her feet to open doors and bottles when she needs extra help

Hamilton uses her feet to open doors and bottles when she needs extra help

Hamilton – who has three children under the age of eight – uses her feet to open doors and bottles when she needs extra help

The athlete can also crack and egg with one hand while making breakfast

The athlete can also crack and egg with one hand while making breakfast 

She did not let the incident impact her dreams of surfing, however, and she began competing professionally four years later in 2007.

In 2010, she was the 20th-ranked woman among surfers, and she has placed first in at least eight different surfing competitions in her career.

‘It’s wild to me that some people still think surfing with one arm is not possible,’ she explained in her post. ‘I am a living example and there are soooo many other amazing adaptive athletes and people out there doing incredible things that people perceive as impossible.

‘What is it about some who are willing to adapt and make the most of what they’ve got? MINDSET.’

Hamilton noted that changing your attitude takes time and is something ‘we may have to be forever working at’ — but she insisted that it’s worth it. 

‘I promise you, that you won’t regret continually flipping your mind to be more grateful, more optimistic, more of what and how … can I do this life to the best of my abilities… 

Hamilton was 13 when she was attacked by a shark while surfing off the coast of Kauai in 2003. She lost her arm as well as 60 per cent of the blood in her body

Hamilton was 13 when she was attacked by a shark while surfing off the coast of Kauai in 2003. She lost her arm as well as 60 per cent of the blood in her body

Hamilton (pictured in 2004) did not let the incident impact her dreams of surfing. She began competing professionally four years after the attack

Hamilton (pictured in 2004) did not let the incident impact her dreams of surfing. She began competing professionally four years after the attack

'It’s wild to me that some people still think surfing with one arm is not possible,' she explained in her post. 'I am a living example'

‘It’s wild to me that some people still think surfing with one arm is not possible,’ she explained in her post. ‘I am a living example’

‘More of — I don’t need easy I just need possible,’ she concluded. ‘Hope this pushes you today and onward to adapt in your life. YOU CAN.’

Hamilton became an inspiration to many after she shared her story in her 2004 book, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.  

The book was later adapted into the 2011 film Soul Surfer, starring Dennis Quaid and Carrie Underwood. Hamilton was portrayed by actress Anna Sophia Robb.

Hamilton’s post has received more than 110,000 likes, including one from Robb. 

‘So thoroughly inspirational,’ one fan commented. ‘You shine so very brightly and it’s a beautiful quality to share with the world. Thanks for this post!’ 

Another added: ‘Your film “Unstoppable” actually really helped me with switching my mindset. Anything is possible.’ 

‘You are truly amazing Bethany!!’ someone else wrote. ‘I’ve always admired your strength and determination!’ 

Hamilton shares three sons - Tobias, seven, Wesley, four, and Micah, one - with her husband, Adam Dirks

Hamilton shares three sons – Tobias, seven, Wesley, four, and Micah, one – with her husband, Adam Dirks

The proud mother regularly posts images of her sons enjoying the ocean

The proud mother regularly posts images of her sons enjoying the ocean 

The surfer also documents her sons' own love of surfing and skateboarding on her Instagram

The surfer also documents her sons' own love of surfing and skateboarding on her Instagram

The surfer also documents her sons’ own love of surfing and skateboarding on her Instagram

As well as being a parent, Hamilton also serves as a surf teacher for her three boys

As well as being a parent, Hamilton also serves as a surf teacher for her three boys

This is not the first time that the surfer has documented her daily lifestyle on Instagram; last year she shared a post detailing how she was coping with caring for a baby after the birth of her youngest child Micah, who was two months old at the time. 

‘I’m raising our third son, so the tricks and adaptations are getting better with each child,’ she wrote alongside the April 2021. 

‘When they are this young and have the wobbly head and need constant attention, nursing, diaper changes, tummy soothing, lots of sleep and of course smiles, kisses and more.’ 

Bethany went on to detail the creative ways she cares for her newborn, admitting that it wasn’t always easy with just one arm. 

‘I use my feet to help with diaper changing, lots of pillows with nursing, a baby carrier all throughout the day and tricky styles of holding to keep baby’s head up,’ she wrote.

‘Sometimes it can get frustrating but I just gotta keep moving forward, have lil breaks and keep it positive!’ she added. ‘Plus I remember I’ve done it before. And as a family we make it work!’



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