Interview with Bethany Hamilton


(SLM) Following the attack, what exactly did you do to face the new reality and challenges that came with it?

One word comes to mind: ADAPT. When facing a new reality and all the challenges that came with now having only one arm in everyday life – plus wanting to keep surfing – I had to figure out ways to do things differently. And that’s what I did. If I found that I couldn’t do something, I got creative and figured out a unique way that I could do it. You can do this too! There’s no need to feel held back by your “limitations,” instead approach life with creativity!

(SLM) How do you deal with negative comments from people who see you as different and incapable of doing what others are able to do?

I know at first for some people it was just hard to believe that I’d even consider going back in the ocean or that surfing with one arm would be possible – especially for my mom – she just didn’t even think it was an option! I can’t really blame her for that, though, she didn’t mean any harm by thinking that way. We gotta have an understanding that sometimes other people are just limited in their thinking, and give them some grace.

(SLM) What exactly do you do to deal with a lack of motivation, when you just aren’t feeling yourself or aren’t inspired to keep going?

I think about my reason for doing what I am doing (or, sometimes, what I need to be doing). Tapping into that intention usually helps get me motivated again!

For example, I am so passionate about surfing; so its always on the forefront of my mind. Because I desire to continually improve, that intention helps keep me motivated and focused. It’s so much fun and I hope to surf as I age too so that motivates me towards longevity in health.

Having a friend to link up around less fun things helps me stay more motivated in the not-so-fun category or if I’m feeling sluggish. I think it’s good to open up and talk about the struggles too!

(SLM) What is the proudest moment of your life so far?

Oh for sure taking that chance at surfing again with one arm, and figuring it out was a huge moment for me! I look back and am so thankful and proud of my thirteen year old self for giving it a try.

More recently, when I competed as a wildcard at the Fiji Women’s Pro in 2016, I was really proud to defeat several of the top women surfers in the world and take 3rd overall in the competition. It felt so good to surf amazing, powerful waves and to shine my surfing abilities right there alongside the best pro surfers from around the globe. You can see this moment in my film, Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable!

But really now being a mom and letting my life flow around that role and supporting my kids really brings a lot of purpose to my life. I’m proud and excited to live that role.

(SLM) From everything you’ve been through, what’s your message for teenagers?

When I was growing up there was this surfer girl on our island who I really admired. She was an incredible surfer with so much potential. But as she got into her young adult years, she got caught up in drugs and alcohol and I watched her throw her talent and skills away. When I saw her life get completely thrashed by this lifestyle, I committed to never go down that path and I set boundaries for myself to not even dabble. I didn’t want anything to prevent me from my (then) goal of being a professional surfer, and the best athlete I could be.

I want to encourage you to think long term like I did. Think health for your life and your future. Commit today to not even dabble with things that could steer your life away from your passion, dreams and relationships.

Choose good friends and rock the best version of you!

You are unique in your God-given talents, ambitions, and life circumstances. Rather than compare yourself in a negative way with those around you (especially when it comes to social media!), shine brightly in what makes you YOU; and love those around you well by spending quality (face to face) time with them and building the friendships you need!

I’d love to invite you into a deeper mentorship with me through my blog and my online course, The Unstoppable Year.  You CAN be “Unstoppable” in life, and it starts with getting the right tools and mindset.

 Here’s a special code you can use for a 25% discount on of one of my favorite topics in my Unstoppable online course, called “Be Present.” Visit

And enter your information to join in!

*The coupon code SL25 is valid through December 31, 2020 and will give you 25% off the full price ($27) of my Be Present course.