Monday, March 24, 2014

One-armed 'Soul Surfer' wins major title 11 years after shark attack

Eleven years after losing her left arm during a shark attack, Bethany Hamilton, the inspirational 24-year-old surfer won the Surf-N-Sea Pipeline Women's Pro, one of the crown jewels in the world of women's surfing.

The Kauai-born Hamilton — also known as the Soul Surfer — topped two Hawaiian surfers and a competitor from Japan in the final round for the title.

For Hamilton, who famously lost her arm to a shark attack at age 13, it was her first major title in nearly ten years.

The courageous Hamilton returned to surfing just a month after a 14-foot tiger shark bit off her left arm in 2003, but hadn't won a major surfing event since  her brave return to the ocean only a month following her ordeal.

That all changed after her impressive performance at last Thursday's event — held in Hawaii's Banzai Pipeline.

The tall, blond native Hawaiian accepted the win with a dose of humility.

"I usually lose so this was great," the beaming Hamilton said after being carried off the beach on the shoulders of her fellow surfers.

Hamilton's captivating tale of fighting back against all odds was immortalized in the 2011 movie "Soul Surfer." 

Her charity Friends of Bethany supports shark attack victims and other amputees.

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