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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 5, 2003

Bethany plans surfing demonstration

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — Bethany Hamilton, the 13-year-old surfing champ who lost her left arm to a shark Oct. 31, is working out and plans to give a surfing demonstration Dec. 19 or 20 at the Billabong Pro women's surf contest at Honolua, Maui.

Hamilton returned to surfing Thanksgiving afternoon, roughly a month after the shark attack and a week after her stitches were removed. She was able to paddle the board and to catch waves with just her right arm, and has not been using a prosthetic device.

She has hit the waves several times since. She surfed at Malibu in California Wednesday while on a Mainland publicity tour, said her representative, theatrical agent Roy Hofstetter. The surf was small, but Hamilton — wearing a wetsuit — drew a crowd, he said.

The Hanalei girl has become an international celebrity since losing her arm, and has been the subject of interviews on numerous network and cable television programs.

Hofstetter said Hamilton expects to return to her Kaua'i home Dec. 13, where she will be working with a trainer to get back in shape after her shark attack and two subsequent surgeries. She plans to fly to Maui Dec. 19 with her friend, Alana Blanchard.

The two have been invited to do a surfing exhibition, which is being called an "expression session," he said.

A tiger shark bit off Hamilton's arm and a chunk of her surfboard on Halloween morning.

She said she was resting with her left arm dangling in the water about 7:30 a.m. at the Tunnels surf break in Ha'ena.

The animal was estimated 14 feet in length based on the size of its bite mark in the surfboard.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 245-3074.