Surfer Bethany Hamilton to Share Inspirational Message April 4 at Southeast


Bethany-nk croppedCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 21, 2016 – Professional surfing champion, shark attack survivor and author Bethany Hamilton will speak April 4 at Southeast Missouri State University as part of the 2015-2016 Speaker Series.

Bethany Hamilton’s “An Evening with Bethany Hamilton” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Show Me Center.  Hamilton’s’ presentation is open to the public. Tickets are required for entry. General admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or the Show Me Center Box Office. Current Southeast faculty, staff and students can use a Redhawks ID to pick up a free ticket in the Center for Student Involvement (University Center Room 204) or the Show Me Center Box Office.

At the age of 13, on Oct. 31, 2003, Hamilton was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Hamilton with a severed left arm. After losing 60 percent of her blood and making it through several surgeries without infection, Hamilton was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Lifeguards and doctors believed her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through this traumatic ordeal.

One month later, Hamilton returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal of becoming a professional surfer. In January of 2004, she made her return to surfing competition and placed fifth in the Open Women’s division of that contest. With no intentions of stopping, Bethany continued to excel and won first in the Explorer Woman’s division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships, winning her first national title. In 2007, she realized her dream and turned pro.

Since losing her arm, Hamilton’s story has been told in hundreds of media outlets and in October  2004, she shared her story in her autobiography, “Soul Surfer.” Seven years later, the book was made into a major motion picture bearing the same title. Hamilton has also written many other books, including “Devotions for the Soul Surfer,” “Rise Above,” “A Soul Surfer Bible,” “Ask Bethany” and “Crash, Burned, Storm and Crunch.”

Hamilton’s story is continually growing as she strives to be the best at whatever she is called to do. The future is truly wide open for this young soul surfer.