Saturday, February 6, 2016

Shooting a Pro

Even though we didn't get much snorkeling time this last trip to Maui because of the high surf it did bring out the surfers in droves.

As luck would have it, Aaron and I were driving around the north end of Maui looking for photographic opportunities and stopped where some surfers were to take some photos.

We met a professional videographer that was filming the surfers and he gave us the run down of  who was in the water.

One of those surfers was Bethany Hamilton-Dirks, a world class and world famous surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack about 12 years ago.

I have to say she is truly an inspiration for pushing through hardships and getting on with your life.

From Wikipedia;

On October 31, 2003 Hamilton, aged 13 at the time, went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana's father, Holt, and brother Byron. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm just below the shoulder. The Blanchards helped paddle her back to shore, then Alana's father fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash and wrapped it around the stump of her arm. She was rushed to Wilcox Memorial Hospital. By the time she arrived there she had lost over 60% of her blood and was in hypovolemic shock. A doctor living in a hotel nearby raced to the rescue. Her father, who was scheduled to have knee surgery that morning, was already there, but she took his place in the operating room. She spent a week in recovery before being released. During subsequent media interviews, she confirmed that she felt normal when she was bitten and did not feel much pain from the bite at the moment of the disaster, but felt numb on the way to the hospital.

When the news broke out of the shark attack, a family of fishermen led by Ralph Young presented to investigators photos of a 14-foot-long tiger shark they had caught and killed about one mile from the attack site. It had surfboard debris in its mouth. When measurements of its mouth were compared with those of Hamilton's broken board, it matched. In late 2004, the police officially confirmed that it was the one that attacked her.

Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Three weeks after the incident, she returned to her board.

Initially, she adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker than standard and had a handle for her right arm, making it easier to paddle, and she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, on January 10, 2004, she entered a major competition. She now uses standard competitive performance short-boards. The broken surfboard that Hamilton was riding during the attack is on display at the California Surf Museum.


  1. Nice action shots Ron! That is so cool that you happened on this well known surfer! They even made a movie about her. "Soul Surfer" if you ever get a chance to see it.

  2. You are lucky to run into her like this! These are awesome shots! I know she from Kauai, and I never seen her surfing for those time i was on the island.


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