Bethany Hamilton of Kauai caught a wave yesterday in the Roxy Pro women's surf competition in Haleiwa.
Bethany rides again
The Kauai teen’s drive to compete amazes many at a North Shore surf meet
Bethany Hamilton's fame from losing an arm in a shark attack is ebbing away wave by wave as fans come to realize she is also a highly competitive surfer.
The 15-year-old from Kauai says she's glad to see attention finally focus on what she really wants to be known for: her surfing talent.
Hamilton lost her qualifying heat in the Roxy Pro women's surfing competition yesterday, behind Honolulu's Carissa Moore, but ahead of two other experienced surfers.
Hamilton was happy with her performance in her best two waves, which were double her size and peeled just a few feet above sharp coral off Oahu's North Shore.
She glided through 12-foot waves, scoring 12.93 out of a possible 20 points, just short of Moore's 14 points.
"A lot of people don't really think I can surf, but I like to show them what I can do," Hamilton said after braving the pounding surf. "It definitely makes me known as a surfer."
Though she finished second in her heat and failed to advance to the finals, Hamilton had a big smile as she hugged heat winner Carissa Moore, 13, of Honolulu.
Two years after having her left arm bitten off at the shoulder by a shark while surfing off the coast of Kauai, Hamilton overcame powerful waves at Haleiwa Beach to put on a performance at the Roxy Pro that even top professional surfers couldn't grasp.
"It's amazing to me that she can still go out there and compete and win and stay at that competitive level," said Keala Kennelly, who was ranked second by the Association of Surfing Professionals in 2003 and who is among the top 10 this year. "I couldn't do it. I really don't think I could do it."
Randy Rarrick, contest director for the prestigious Triple Crown of Surfing tournament series, was impressed by Hamilton's quick comeback to competition and her fluid surfing style.
"To overcome adversity and still show that much style ... is a great inspiration for women surfers," he said,
The Roxy Pro is the second-to-last stop of the women's professional tour. It is held at Haleiwa, a break feared even by top professionals for its powerful currents and shifting surf.
Hamilton took a beating at the beginning of her heat when a set of large waves swallowed her.
"I got clipped by the set," Hamilton said about the wipeout, noting that it also ripped a special handle attached to her board which she uses to go under waves that crash in front of her. "I was falling apart but then I was just thinking, 'OK, pay attention, get one good wave and it will all disappear."'
Hamilton said she was trying catch the bigger waves.
"I just went out there to do my best," she said. "I had a blast."
Bethany Hamilton of Princeville, Kauai, carried her board on the beach yesterday after participating in the Roxy Pro women's surf competition in Haleiwa. Hamilton, who lost her left arm below the shoulder in a shark attack two years ago, took second in her heat and failed to advance.