When the Hawaiian surfer was just 13 years old, she survived a shark attack in Kauai. Hamilton lost her arm in the attack, but she returned to surfing just a month later, despite having lost 60 percent of her blood and entering hypovolemic shock. Around three months after the attack, she entered a major surf competition. Within two years, the author of the autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, became a national champion.
Hamilton, now 29, credits the success in her career to her work ethic and her faith in God.
"When tough times come my way, I definitely rely on my faith in God and just be like, 'Hey God, I don't know why I lost my arm, but I'm going to trust you and know that good can come from this situation,’” Hamilton told CNN World Sports.
Hamilton has also always maintained a positive outlook on life.
On Thursday, Hamilton shared a photo in which she is holding her second son, Wesley, on a boat in the same "waters I lost my arm however many years ago today."
"I can honestly be here with contentedness,” she wrote. “I’ve learned that from awful times beauty can come. Thank you God! As life has gone on I cherish all that I have, my faith, family, the ability to bring hope, surfing, the challenges, the over-comings and much more."
Along with Wesley, Hamilton shares son Tobias with her husband, Adam Dirks.
"My passion for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks," Hamilton told CNN. "This is what I dreamed of, and the loss of my arm didn't stop that dream."
Hamilton, who turned down the 2016 ESPY nomination for best female athlete with a disability, because she did not believe "the term 'disability'" suited her, will continue her pro career as she pursues the Women Surf League's Women's Qualifying Series in 2020, hoping to qualify for the 2021 championship tour.
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