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Bethany Hamilton shares her secrets to surfing with one arm

Bethany Hamilton explains how she surfs after losing her arm to a shark when she was 13; frame grab courtesy Aaron Lieber
Bethany Hamilton explains how she surfs after losing her arm to a shark when she was 13; frame grab courtesy Aaron Lieber

We all know Kauai's Bethany Hamilton as "that girl who survived a shark attack," but what you may not realize is just how great of a surfer she is. Between the major motion picture Soul Surfer and her myriad appearances in mainstream media, Hamilton's story is well documented—but nobody ever asked her exactly how she surfs with just one arm. That changed when filmmaker Aaron Lieber and I sat down with Hamilton on the North Shore of Oahu, where she was training for the Women's Pipe Pro that she ultimately won.


On paddling: "People are like, 'How do you not go in a circle?'" says Bethany in the beginning of the video filmed by Lieber. "I'm like, 'Well, the fins are on the bottom of the board.' It's kind of funny," she adds.

Bethany Hamilton doesn't just surf … she rips! Frame grab courtesy Aaron Lieber
Bethany Hamilton doesn’t just surf … she rips! Frame grab courtesy Aaron Lieber

While we can't imagine someone asking Hamilton that, it sounds as if that has happened, so it's cool to hear her explain her technique for paddling out, catching waves, and standing up. Hamilton also shares some insight into the film project she and Lieber are working on, and while it's still in the developmental phase, it's safe to say that Bethany Hamilton will be dropping a movie in the future that is guaranteed to blow your mind—if she hasn't already.

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