Stab Magazine | Bethany Hamilton Is Crushing The Fiji Women's Pro

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Bethany Hamilton Is Crushing The Fiji Women’s Pro

She beat Tyler Wright and Steph Gilmore this morning.

news // May 30, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Familiarity, and the speed with which we reach it in 2016, is a curious thing. In November last year, no one would’ve predicted how incredible Kelly Slater’s soon-to-be-unveiled wave pool would be. *Scenes missing* and it’s May, and we’re, uh… kinda sick of seeing it, dare I say it. Adaptation is one of the finest human mechanisms! Like, how Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack, but has adapted by dealing with it and perpetually moving forward as a surfer. Then there’s us, having adapted to seeing a girl surf so incredibly with one arm. And becoming familiar with it. And forgetting that she’s surfing with one fucking arm.

Bethany Hamilton Cloudbreak Round 2 Ed Sloane 1

Look at that torque! WSL/Ed Sloane

“And this is the part of Bethany’s surfing that blows my mind the most… just the way she’s able to paddle back out,” said Stab-fav Ronnie Blakey after Beth dismantled a Cloudbreak runner on her way to beating current world number one, Tyler Wright. Cloudbreak is a challenging wave, one that your Stab correspondent had the good fortune of surfing last year, and clawing your way out of the inside after catching a wave is hard enough with two arms, let alone one. (Mark Mathews once told Stab: “It’s one of those waves where it washes you in, but you don’t go fully into the lagoon. You’re trying to get back through it, but because the wave grows as it steams down the reef, you wipeout and then get pushed down the reef and every single one you get on the head feels bigger than the last, because they keep growing.”) These are the staples of surfing that are easy to forget when it comes to Beth. Paddling, duck diving – that’s before she’s even on her feet…

Bethany Hamilton Cloudbreak Round 2 Ed Sloane 2

“Even after losing my arm, I’m still doing everything I’ve hoped I could do, and more,” said Beth after beating Steph. WSL/Ed Sloane

Beth’s surfing itself in rounds two and three (both of which she won) was tough and great. She got barrelled, got up in the lip, hacked the face. She’s fast, but powerful. And thanks to the smaller scale of the women’s tour, the round three win puts Beth straight into the quarters. But, don’t worry about remembering how remarkable it is that she surfs so well with one arm. Beth will remind you herself by charging Jaws or Chopes or spinning air-reverses over Indo reefs, or beating world champs and world-number-ones in heats at Cloudbreak: “Even after losing my arm, I’m still doing everything I’ve hoped I could do, and more.”

Bethany Hamilton Cloudbreak Round 2 Kelly Cestari

How to best utilise a wildcard spot. WSL/Kelly Cestari


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