COOLANGATTA, QLD / AUS (Sunday, December 15, 2019) - The World Surf League (WSL) is proud to announce that it will be awarding it's WSL International Wildcard for the upcoming Piha Pro to inspirational Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton (HAW).
Hamilton will be seeded into the second round of the Challenger Series event and hopes to use the opportunity as a springboard for Championship Tour qualification in 2021, a major possibility at an event as big as this.
Hamilton has had a few years away from competing while focussing on her feature film Unstoppable, which tells her incredible life story of never giving up the dream to be a professional surfer. Shortly before her Hiatus Bethany competed as a wildcard in a number of CT events, most notably finishing equal 3rd at the 2016 Fiji Women's Pro in pumping surf at Cloudbreak. With 10,000 points on offer for the winner of the Pro Piha, opportunities in major events such as this can be life changing for the recipients of these types of wildcards.
"I am putting an emphasis on competition this year! I've always had a passion for competition. After making the documentary and being able to put so much focus on surfing, plus doing well at Fiji, I feel like I'm at a time in life where I'm surfing better than ever and feel like I'd do well on the World Tour. And it's a place I've always seen myself. So I figure I'd take another stab at qualifying and have fun along the way" continued Hamilton.
With a history of strong results as a wildcard along with aspirations to qualify for the 2021 Women's Championship Tour, WSL SVP of Tours and Events, Jessi Miley Dyer sees Bethany Hamilton as a perfect candidate for the WSL International Wildcard at the Piha Pro along with leading the Rising Tides at Piha, a program where local girls of all ages will have the opportunity to share waves and stories with some of the world's best female surfers.
"Bethany is one of the most inspirational humans in the world," Miley-Dyer said. "Not only is she an incredible surfing athlete, but a woman with incredible passion and determination. The WSL is really excited to see one of our sports biggest icons, fully commit to the Challenger Series in 2020 and can't wait to see her share her time with the young girls from the Piha and greater New Zealand surfing community."
Steve Armitage, General Manager - Destination at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) says Hamilton will be a welcome guest to New Zealand's biggest city."Bethany is a beacon of inspiration and courage, with her influence extending beyond the surfing community," said Mr Armitage. "Her participation in the Piha Pro is sure to inspire the next generation of surfers, and help champion gender equality and the advancement of women in sport.
"Aucklanders are known for our manaakitianga (a warm welcome) and she will certainly enjoy that during her time in Tāmaki Makaurau."
The 2020 Piha Pro World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) event will run from March 16 - 22 at Piha Beach, New Zealand. For more information, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the free WSL App.