NewsSydney Surf ProBethany Hamilton

Is 2020 The Year Bethany Hamilton Qualifies For The CT?

When Bethany Hamilton surfed the Fiji Women's Pro to a third-place finish in 2016, it was clear she belonged on the CT.

But it's been ten years since she competed on the qualifying series with any serious intentions, and this is, after all, a necessary step towards booking a full-time place on the Dream Tour.

So, could 2020 finally be the year?

Bethany, one of the most recognizable surfers on the planet, has announced that she will be competing full-time on the QS in 2020, and is better than perhaps anyone else in the sport at defying the odds.

Most people thought she'd never surf again after she lost an arm to a shark attack on Kauai in 2003, but she was back on a board within weeks; then they thought she wouldn't compete again, but she went on to win several events.

Bethany Hamilton Takes Out Tyler Wright
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As a wildcard at the Fiji Women's Pro, Bethany Hamilton came up against Jeep Leader Tyler Wright in Round Two, and pulled off a huge upset.

"I did the QS for a while and I had a couple of close calls, I think I missed out by two heats one year and one heat the other year. They were really painful losses back then, and then I kind of stepped away, got married, worked on my film Unstoppable - which is out worldwide pretty much - and I put a lot of effort into just getting better at surfing the last six, seven years," Hamilton told the WSL after a heat at the Sydney Surf Pro.

"It kind of feels like my last hurrah, because I do want to have another kid at some point, but we were like, let's just go for it. And I have my husband's support so I figured, why not try? It doesn't hurt to try and have fun along the way," she says.

If her performance so far in the Sydney Surf Pro Challenger Series event is anything to go off, she's put some serious effort into her small-wave game - a crucial step towards succeeding in some of the Qualifying Series' litany of humble beach breaks.

No one ever questioned her ability in solid waves, and it was always going to be the less-than-stellar conditions that would prove to be the biggest hurdle.

Hamilton: "I Really Want To Qualify This Year"
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Hawaii's Bethany Hamilton has declared her intention to qualify for the Championship Tour after her round 2 heat at the Sydney Surf Pro.

"I'm working with a trainer out of Canada, and I think I'm doing some of the more unique training there is out there ... I'm going to keep it a secret for a while. But it just keeps me feeling fresh, and I've actually been out of the water for three months so I really heavily relied on my training.

"I'm also working with Ross Williams, out of Hawaii, and we're working on just getting better at surfing and competing. He's helping me in every area of surfing.

"I'm approaching the year with the challenge of small waves ... it's easy to surf in good waves, but I've always loved a challenge so I've put that challenge towards small waves and keeping my mindset positive towards that. It feels good to face it head on, versus ignoring it," Hamilton says.

If she can pull it off, it will be just the latest in a long line of inspiring achievements racked up by Hamilton, and we can't wait to see her in the jersey this year.

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