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‘Be Unstoppable: The Art of Never Giving Up’
Photo by Mike Coots
You could describe Bethany Hamilton with a lot of words.
Courageous. Determined. Strong.
There’s another word to add to the list: Unstoppable.
“Be Unstoppable: The Art of Never Giving Up,” is the title of the champion surfer’s newest book, while “Unstoppable Me” is the title of the children’s book of a surfing lion written by Adam Dirks, Bethany’s husband, co-written with Hamilton.
Which leads to this question: What does it take to be unstoppable?
For Hamilton, there is no doubt what that is: Faith.
“All of us go through tough stuff,” she said during a phone interview with The Garden Island. “Definitely for me, it’s been my faith in God, sticking to my passions.”
Her passions continue to be God, family, and surfing.
“My faith is essential,” the 28-year-old said. “I believe that the hardest things I’ve been through, God has been my strength.”
She has been through more than most.
In 2003, while surfing, the 13-year-old lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark, and her resilience and positive attitude fascinated the world as she returned to surfing, winning national titles and becoming a source of inspiration to millions.
Her grit and determination are highlighted in the two new books, released from publishing partner Zondervan, in conjunction with the upcoming 2019 release of her new documentary, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.”
In the picture book, “Be Unstoppable: The Art of Never Giving Up,” Hamilton inspires readers to be bold, enjoy life, and take the risk of trusting God each day.
“Bethany’s athleticism and story inspire us all to understand how passions can help an individual push through challenges. We are pleased to present her as role model who will inspire readers to be bold, enjoy life and be the best they can be,” says Annette Bourland, senior vice president and group publisher at Zondervan in a press release.
“Alongside never-before-seen photos from the making of her new documentary, the book has inspiring quotes and lessons from her life. With a full-color poster included, this book will resonate with new and old fans who will appreciate her story of living life with anticipation for the limitless possibilities found in a faith in God that is bigger than the hardships she faced,” the press release said.
“Unstoppable Me” features a story about a surfing baby lion named Makana who faces her fears to be unstoppable when catching new waves. Adam and Bethany read this tale to their son, Tobias, 3, and their baby, Wesley, 7 months old, to teach them about the importance of never giving up and believing in yourself. The story is illustrated by Gill Guile.
“Young families will enjoy this tale,” she said. “We love reading to our boys!”
In the “Be Unstoppable” book, Bethany writes, “At times, I have struggled with despair and fear, but my faith in God was greater than my hardships. Having hope in God’s promises strengthened me to be brave. Through my personal drive and support of my family, I recommitted to my passion. Even with one arm, and some doubt, I was determined to get in the ocean again and surf. This book shares that passion and I hope inspires you to pursue your heart’s desire and stick with it through tough times.”
Her life was the focus of the 2011 movie, “Soul Surfer.” She was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Adam and Bethany are also involved in charities such as Friends of Bethany, a foundation she and her family created to support amputees and youth.
In addition, Bethany authored “Body and Soul” to encourage others toward confidence and fitness.
She also wrote, “Devotions for the Soul Surfer,” that came out in 2006 when she was 16.
She enjoys being an author and writing with her husband.
“It is really fun,” she said. “Being able to put out books out is really exciting.”
Nick Vujicic, best-selling author of “Life Without Limits,” has visited Kauai, surfed with Hamilton and is her friend. He wrote a book, “Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action.”
Vujicic was born without arms and legs.
Hamilton said she wasn’t aware Vujicic’s book used the word “Unstoppable,” too, until she saw it during a visit to his home.
She referred to him as “incredible.”
“He is such an amazing human being,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton hopes that people come away inspired by her books, as well.
“I think encouragement to really live an unstoppable life, no matter what we’re going through,” she said.
Look for the positives. That’s what she did after losing her left arm in the shark attack at Tunnels Beach on Kauai.
“I’m so thankful I had encouragement when I lost my arm,” she said. “I realized I still had a full life head of me.”
Hamilton said she was able to see beyond the uncertainties of the immediate future and saw there were great things in store — as long as she had faith and didn’t give up.
She went on to be a world-class surfer, wife, mom, author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur.
Hamilton was recently in a surfing competition in California, and while there, had a chance to meet many up-and-coming surfer girls. While she didn’t surf as well as she hoped, she loved spending time with the younger generation and knows many look up to her.
She treats those moments as gifts.
“I love life and I love being able to do all I get to do,” she said.
She believes she is surfing better than ever, but finding the time to train and practice is the “never-ending challenge,” especially with two sons to look after at their North Shore home.
She laughed as she told a story about Wesley “just about crawling and eating human food” and that Tobias has taken up surfing and even after a bad wipeout, gets right back on the board.
“He’s totally getting better,” she said proudly.
“I definitely have a lot of family time and make that my priority,” she added.
She praised her husband for always being there while pursuing his own goals.
“Teamwork is everything,’ she said.
Hamilton sees challenges as opportunities — and is thankful for them.
Her life is one of many blessings, she said.
“Definitely amazing and all,” Hamilton said.
What’s next for her?
She has several projects in the works, including an app for young women to find a source of hope and inspiration, a place where they can get grounded. More traveling, surfing, writing and speaking. And of course, being with her family.
“Keep taking life one day at time and see what new things come my way,” she said.
Hamilton makes it clear she plans to continue sharing a message of perseverance and faith in Jesus Christ.
The world, Hamilton said, is changing. It’s different than the one she grew up in.
But there is one lesson she will always carry with her. Sure, she’ll always be unstoppable. She’ll never give up. But there is this:
“Being kind to one another is so important, regardless of whether you share the same beliefs,” she said.
Great stuff from Bethany thanks for making the time for this shark attack survivor in 2012′
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