The WSL announced today that Bethany Hamilton will once again receive a wildcard entry into the 2017 Outerknown Fiji Women's Pro. It was an easy decision for WSL officials, since the renowned shark attack survivor turned in an inspirational performance in 2016 that earned her a third -place finish, and a healthy number of global headlines.
After finishing third in Round One, she eliminated No. 1 ranked Tyler Wright from the competition in Round Two, then topped 6x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and Johanne Defay in the non-elimination Round Three. After beating Nikki Van Dijk in the Quarterfinals her incredible run at the Fiji Women's Pro finally ended at the hands of Defay, in the Semis.
"Last year was amazing, yet I know I have to focus and go into the event fresh; it is a new year and, as usual, competition will be tough," Hamilton said.
Hamilton grew up alongside 3x World Champion Andy Irons, Men's CT surfer Sebastian Zietz and former CT surfers Bruce Irons and Alana Blanchard on Kauai's North Shore. Her experience in hollow reef waves made her quite comfortable surfing Fiji's shallow tubes and speedy walls, and because she's been busy chasing perfect surf for an upcoming movie over the past few months, her confidence is growing.
"I feel like I'm surfing better than ever, so I can't help but be excited!"
Outerknown Fiji Women's Pro Round One Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Silvana Lima (BRA) Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 6: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS)
Surfline's delivered a promising forecast for the Fiji Women's Pro event window, be sure to check in on May 28 at 7 a.m. FST for all the action.