Fit Tip Friday: Bethany Hamilton’s Bravery
For us, sometimes we stub our toe and completely call off our gym trips for the next week. But imagine if you had literally survived a shark attack, would you be willing to get back in the water? To compete in national surf competitions again? Or to go even deeper in the ocean and learn to scuba dive?!
Yep, it takes a lot of faith, passion, and a true love of the water to do what Bethany Hamilton has done to recover from a shark attack in 2003 that severed her left arm. Years later she stays active in her rehabilitation and is a part of a new project which help others do the same. We caught up with the famed surfer to learn about her involvement.
Make A Hero’s new film, The Current, is a new and exciting project for you. Can you tell us about the project and why you wanted to be a part of it?
The Current tells the story of individuals with physical disabilities regaining their freedom through adaptive water sports while exploring the healing powers of the ocean.
Make a Hero helps individuals with disabilities enjoy the freedom of sports and recreation, and as a big proponent of water sports myself, it was important for me to get involved with the organization and movie. I wanted to help promote the importance of having fun, and staying active and healthy in order to enjoy life, no matter your physical limitations.
Also, I wanted to be a part of it because I love the ocean — whether I’m surfing, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving — and I know that it has played a unique role in my healing process.
After your accident, did you ever question whether you really wanted to get back in the water again?
After losing my arm I definitely second-guessed my ability to surf, but I never doubted that I would get back in the ocean. The ocean has been a healing gift that God has given me and for it I am extremely grateful.
You’ve been back on the water surfing since your accident, but scuba diving will take you even deeper into the ocean. Are/were you nervous or excited about scuba diving with the PADI?
I love just about anything to do with the ocean! Getting my PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) scuba diving certification has enabled me to learn what it is like to stay underwater for a long period of time, which is such a rad experience! Rather than a nervous experience, The Current is a really exciting adventure to be a part of — it allows me to explore the underwater world in a way I never have before!
Can you tell us more about your experience getting PADI certified? What was it like taking your first breath underwater? Would you recommend that other women try scuba diving?
Scuba diving is awesome. My experience getting PADI certified was such as unique learning experience that allowed me to breathe underwater, which is a beautiful thing that I will continue to do, as my PADI certification never expires. The underwater world is so different from the above.
Would you recommend that other women try scuba diving? How can they get started? Can they get involved in Make a Hero, too?
I would definitely recommend that others try scuba diving themselves for an adventure underwater that is so much fun! It’s easy to get started — you just visit PADI.com and sign up for eLearning, the online course to study basic scuba theory. Then the fun begins — you get in the water and learn dive through a series of confined and open water practicing!
Yes, anyone can get involved and support Make a Hero. Just go to MakeAHero.org and join my surf team with professional surfer, Taylor Knox, to help us fundraise and share the healing powers of the ocean. By signing up for a team, you join others in growing awareness for people with disabilities and get fun incentives in return, such as my movie Soul Surfer, discounts and even tickets to see the premiere of The Current in Boulder, CO!
You stay fit by surfing, but what do you do to work out when you can’t make it out to the ocean for a surf sesh?
I love living a healthy life! I try to balance everything I do. I eat healthy- mostly organic and along the lines of the Paleo diet — and I love veggies! As for fitness, I stay very active. One of the most important things to me is to keep it fun! Along with surfing, I love to play tennis and attempt to play beach volleyball with my girlfriends! Digging deeper into fitness, I do Egoscue, which is posture and spinal alignment focused movements and stretching. I love to incorporate the TRX, yoga ball, bosu ball, and the spin bike into my HITTs (High Intensity Interval/Tactical Training sessions).
What advice would you give to people considering getting back into fitness after an injury?
Whether you are recovering from an injury or just want to get healthier, I recommend you get advice from a professional and always keep the fun in your routine so you develop healthy habits for life!
xx, The FabFitFun Team