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Milestones: Bethany Hamilton

1 minute read
Kate Stinchfield

When surfer girl Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark off the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii, in 2003, she lost an arm–but not her drive. Now 16 and still home-schooled, Hamilton has blossomed as an entrepreneur, building a miniempire of merchandise, including a perfume called Stoked and an eponymous line of accessories sold at teen favorite Claire’s. She is also working on a young-adult fiction series and three advice books. “It’s been really exciting,” she says. “I’m happy I’ll be able to tell my story and inspire other girls.”

She won’t be telling that story for the first time–or the last. Soul Surfer, her autobiography, came out in 2004, and the movie version is set to start shooting this fall. Who might play Bethany? The filmmakers’ target list includes Emma Watson (Harry Potter’s friend Hermione) and Britney Spears’ sister Jamie Lynn.

Hamilton’s love, though, remains surfing. She spends three weeks in a typical month traveling to competitions and has surfed off Brazil, Indonesia and Australia. But there are no waves like home. “Hawaii,” she says, “will always be my favorite.”

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