Rip Curl and the Hamilton family is late today pleased to announce that Bethany Hamilton has stabilized and is doing well following her traumatic shark attack in Kauai some 72 hours ago.
Early last Friday morning Bethany was surfing Tunnels on Kauai’s north coast with her best friend and best friend’s father when what is believed to be a twelve to fifteen-foot tiger shark attacked from behind, taking off her left arm just below the shoulder. She was lying flat on her board at the point of contact.
Her friend’s father acted quickly and is credited with saving her life by torniquing her shoulder and paddling her back to shore, where she eventually passed out while waiting for the emergency ambulance.
Lifeguards believe her strong water sense and positive outlook helped get her through the traumatic ordeal.
“She is doing amazingly well, says Bethany’s brother, Noah Hamilton. “She fought to stay alive and today she is still with us. Through the whole attack she never cried. When her best friend’s father paddled her in, he told her to keep talking, she said she just prayed the whole way and then blackout on the beach.
“A family friend who was a fireman on the scene said she was amazing she kept it together the whole time, continues Hamilton, who’s a photographer. “She keeps saying that the life-changing event is going to allow her to tell the whole world about Jesus. It brings me to tears over how well she is handling this.
“I’m never going to see my sister play guitar again, and at this point she wants to stop surfing to become a professional photographer. I guess we could become a team. She’s thinking about going out for soccer again. But she continues to think of all she can do to tell the world about God. She was only a few years away from turning pro as a surfer. For those of you who don’t know how well she surfs, just go to any major news agencies website. Please pray for her and my family because we are going to have waves of sorrow and happiness, but it gets hard sometimes. I just pray that Bethany’s great outlook on this event will continue and she will not lose her hope and great attitude.
Monday afternoon local Kauai time Bethany had final surgery to seal her shoulder wound and is reported to be in good spirits.
The support from the Hawai’ian community and the international surf community at large has been nothing short of amazing.
“Bethany would like to thank the international community for all their support, says Rip Curl USA Team Manager Scott “Pod Banuelos from location on Kauai.
“She had more than 7,000 emails in the last 24 hours from people around the world pledging their support and sending warm wishes. Following her surgery this afternoon she will now likely be home in the next two to three days. She looks forward to doing things she’s never done before like snowboarding, photography, and other new challenges that lay before her.
With Bethany stabilized and now on the road to recovery, Rip Curl has pledged utmost support for Bethany and the Hamilton family during the rehabilitation process.
“The company is committed to working closely with Bethany and is looking at a variety of ways to support her and her family now and in the future, says Global CEO David Lawn from California.
“We are fully committed to support Bethany and her family. We currently have three members of our USA staff over in Hawaii to give immediate support and will work on ways to support their future needs, added Jimmy Olsson, Rip Curl USA CEO.
Fundraising ideas and plans are already underway. The most likely outcome will see a local Benefit Night held on Kauai in the next two weeks, followed by a Fundraising Function held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Cup and North Shore Lifeguard Association during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
The Hamilton Family is pleased to announce that a fundraising fund for Bethany has been established — aptly named Friends of Bethany Hamilton.
To conntribute to the fund, send checks or money orders to:Friends of Bethany Hamilton
1st Hawaiian Bank
4423 Rice Street
Lihue, HAWAII 96766
For all further details of Bethany’s recovery and fundraising details, log onto www.bethanyhamilton.com