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Oct 13, 2023 7:53:08 AM

‘You Too Can Overcome’: Bethany Hamilton Reflects on 20th Anniversary of Shark Attack

Twenty years ago, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing off the coast of Kauai. While only 13 at the time, faith in God carried her through that incredibly difficult time and gave her a newfound purpose in sharing her testimony with the world.

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“I didn’t wake up in the hospital thinking I was invincible and was gonna get back to surfing,” Hamilton explained in a social media post reflecting on the 20 years since the shark attack. “After getting a hint of inspiration, I had to dream it up, flip my mindset and be willing to do what I had not seen anyone else do. This was a challenge to live in faith. And I am so glad I was willing to try and give it my best shot!”

The 33-year-old credited God’s faithfulness for helping her overcome her circumstances and turn something that seemed so awful into something beautiful. After all, Hamilton’s story has inspired millions of people thanks to two films (“Soul Surfer” is one of our favorite Sony AFFIRM Films!), nine books, a popular blog, and a professional surfing career that has spanned decades. She’s also a wife and mom, having welcomed her fourth child with husband Adam Dirks earlier this summer.

“There is so much to be grateful for, and these past 20 years have been filled with incredible moments and huge overcoming seasons,” Hamilton wrote. “Many people could look at the incident back in 2003 as a major setback for me, but God had so much in store for the future!”

In 2019, the Pure Flix Insider was able to sit down with Hamilton and talk about faith, the release of the documentary of her life since the attack, "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable,” and how she is able to use her story to encourage and mentor others through whatever challenges life throws at them. You can watch the full interview below.

And while there are not many people out there who can say they know what it’s like to survive a shark attack, Hamilton’s testimony of leaning on faith, trusting God, and living life as an unstoppable overcomer is one we can all identify with and learn from.

“When you have your “Shark Attack” moments in life. I hope you’re willing to try, and give life your best shot!” Hamilton concluded. “You too CAN OVERCOME!”

Photo Credit: Instagram


Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in Christian Post, The Daily Signal, and Intellectual Takeout. Mayer has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.