As a pro surfer, mother, wife, sister, motivational speaker and shark attack survivor, Bethany Hamilton is many things to many people. She runs a foundation, Friends of Bethany, to help support those who have lost limbs as she did at age 13, and routinely gives motivational talks. In recent years, she has also competed as a wildcard in a few WSL Championship Tour (CT) events, including the Swatch Women's Pro at Trestles, and the 2016 and 2017 women's Fiji Pro events. At both of those, Hamilton defeated Tyler Wright, the current reigning WSL Champ, in the early rounds, making it all the way to the Quarterfinals in 2016.
Hamilton is also expecting her second child with her husband, Adam Dirks, any day now. And yet, she still took time to share her thoughts on strength, surfing, and womanhood.
World Surf League: What does being a female surfer mean to you?
Being a female surfer is a balance of femininity and strength. Grace and bravery. I love being apart of women's surfing right now! There are so many girls rocking it and pushing hard. It's so awesome to see and it inspires me to push hard too. I can't wait to see what women's surfing will be like when I'm [older].
As someone who has been a pioneer in multiple respects, what do you see as your biggest impact on surfing?
I think my biggest impact has been not underestimating myself in the surf. And I do hope people think of me as a versatile surfer.
I'm [also] super excited about my new documentary, Unstoppable, which shows my life journey focusing on the ups and downs of my surfing career. The film will be at the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York, April 18 - 28.
What advice would you give to women -- including those in the industry to those who are just starting out in the lineup -- to overcome setbacks, or fear?
Keep your passion to surf close to your motives and goals. If you're just starting to surf, keep it fun and share it with friends. If you've been going at it, keep pushing hard! I'm now 28 years old with two kids and I still have a strong desire to keep pushing myself to surf better. I just love the challenge.
Happy International Women's Day, from the World Surf League. You can celebrate with us here.