October 31st, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of losing my arm.
It has been so amazing for me to think about the last 20 years and all that God has done with my story, both in my life and the lives of others. There has been such a huge ripple effect!
I thought it would be fun to look back and kind of replay of all that has happened.
2003 – Age 13
On Oct. 31st, I was attacked by a shark and my left arm was traumatically amputated to my shoulder. However, I was determined not to let this stop me from surfing! On Nov 26th I was back in the water, re-learning to surf with one arm.
2004 – Age 14
My comeback story received lots of publicity this year. I was featured on many news outlets and media interviews and received the MTV “Teen Choice Award” for courage. My bestselling autobiography Soul Surfer was also released!
2005 – Age 15
I won the US National under-18 surf championships!! I also visited Thailand with World Vision and helped the orphans enjoy the ocean for the first time since the Tsunami.
2006 – Age 16
My Soul Surfer Devotions book was published! I also took a few amazing surf trips this year for sponsorship gigs with RipCurl and other filming projects.
2007 – Age 17
I toured international film festivals to showcase my newly released personal documentary, The Heart of a Soul Surfer. That was a ton of fun! I also started doing more motivational speaking at events and conferences.
2008 – Age 18
I placed 3rd in the Roxy Pro in Australia! This was also my first year surfing full-time on the Women’s Qualifying Series (WQS) Pro surfing circuit. I traveled the world surfing and training for this and by the end of the year I finished 14th in the world on the Pro Qualifying Series rankings!
2009 – Age 19
I was stoked to place 2nd in the World Junior (under 20) Championships in Sydney, Australia! Many media outlets and top shows re-featured my story. I was doing interviews and guest appearances like crazy! I also tow surfed the famous big wave, “Jaws”, which really sparked my love for big-wave surfing!
2010 – Age 20
My upcoming movie, Soul Surfer, started production in Hawaii! My family and I were very involved in this process and were on set almost every day. I continued to be on many TV shows and news interviews.
2011 – Age 21
SoulSurfer – featuring AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt – hit theaters on April 8th! We traveled through the US, UK, France and Ireland to promote the movie. The movie was given several awards and received international praise!
2012 – Age 22
I spoke at churches and events all over the U.S. this year. I traveled to Japan with Samaritan’s Purse and Hope Japan to visit tsunami victims.
2013 – Age 23
Adam asked me to marry him and I said, “yes!!” We got married in August surrounded by all our family and friends. This was also the 10th anniversary of the shark attack. My “Friends of Bethany” Foundation (now called the Beautifully Flawed Foundation) hosted its first retreat for young women with limb differences.
2014 – Age 24
Adam and I competed on season 25 of The Amazing Race! I also spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and made a cameo appearance in Dolphin Tale 2. I was thrilled to take 1st place at the Surf ’N Sea Pipeline Pro! I also released signature sandals through Cobian Footwear.
2015 – Age 25
Our first son, Tobias, was born! I continued speaking at churches and events all around the U.S.
2016 – Age 26
I placed 3rd in the Fiji Women’s Pro at Cloudbreak in Tavarua, Fiji!! I also surfed “Jaws” on Maui and this nominated me for the Women’s Best Performance in the WSL Big Wave Awards.
2017 – Age 27
I was so excited to be inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, CA! I also was honored as SIMA’s Water Woman of the Year.
2018 – Age 28
2019 – Age 29
Unstoppable released theatrically and digitally in the U.S. along with two new books. I launched my “Unstoppable Life” online courses to encourage people to overcome the obstacles in their lives. The Beautifully Flawed Foundation launches the Forge, a retreat for men with limb differences.
2020 – Age 30
I announced my third pregnancy! In the midst of a global pandemic, I also gave away 2,500 memberships to my online courses for free.
2021 – Age 31
Micah is born! With the world still mostly closed down for travel, I did most my motivational speaking and interviews online from home.
2022 – Age 32
My family and I started traveling again and I got back into speaking across the country and surfing around the world. I competed in the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout and inaugural Pipeline Pro. My ‘Ohana Experience for Mothers and Daughters launched and my children’s book, Surfing Past Fear, released with Brave Books.
2023 – Age 33
I celebrated 20 years of overcoming! Our fourth child – a girl! – was born. Alaya completely stole all our hearts. The ‘Ohana Experience continued to grow and I did more traveling for speaking events.
The ripple effect from my story was so huge! Your story can have a ripple effect too, if you surrender it to God.
Know that when you are living in His truth and Jesus’ promises of life, peace, and salvation through what He did for you on the cross, your story is exactly what it should be. You have been redeemed and wherever your life takes you, you can find joy in all circumstances, a joy that only comes from Him!
Thank you for being apart of my journey and encouraging me over the years through your thoughts and prayers.💛