As you all know, Murphy is our correspondent for all things beachy in Southern California. Well, I must say the post he sent over was nothing less than a bunch of chicken scratch! It was all I could do to decipher what he had written. Yet, I think I was able to translate his unique Pelican language into something we could all comprehend. At least, I hope I did.
Is it just me or have you noticed an increase in shark sightings lately?
It seems like almost every week there’s been a report that has raised concerns as to whether it’s safe to dip our toes into the water. Some say it’s due to the rise of temperature in the ocean, while others feel it’s because there are more cell phones capturing this phenomenon that has brought this to our attention
Regardless of the cause, this topic made me think about surfing and how this has affected those who participate in that immensely competitive sport, although we at times may also feel like we are “swimming with the sharks.”
This week there is a surfing event called “Swatch Women’s Pro” at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. Lower Trestles is perhaps better known for the men’s Hurley Pro surfing competition verses the women’s event. Because, well, there are more male surfers than there are women that participate in the sport.
But the reason why I chose to focus on this particular event wasn’t because of women per se, but specifically one woman, that of Bethany Hamilton, a wildcard participant in this year’s “Swatch Women’s Pro” competition.
You may recall a tragic incident back in 2003 when a teenage girl got bitten while surfing off the shores of Kauai by a 15’ Tiger Shark that resulted in amputation, leaving the girl with only one arm.
That girl was Bethany Hamilton.
The interesting thing about Bethany isn’t the fact that she’s a survivor. But it’s the motivation that she demonstrated during her recovery. She didn’t focus on the attack, or her missing arm. In fact, she was back in the water three weeks later and has spent the past decade living her dream of surfing professionally.
You may remember the movie a few years ago called “Soul Surfer” starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. It was an extraordinary story that portrayed Bethany’s strength, fortitude and courage while dealing with the loss of her left arm after the attack.
Yet, the most powerful testimony is the way Bethany approaches her life. She is one highly respected surfer. And when she competes, other women are not thinking about the fact that she’s missing an arm. Bethany Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with and surfs with the same intensity and skill of someone who has both arms.
But here’s something you may not know. Bethany and her husband just had their first child in June. So now she’s scheduled to surf just three months after giving birth against those who have competed throughout the summer and while she was pregnant, although she did continue to surf up until her sixth month.
Bethany put it this way, “I often forget that I have one arm…I think there’s going to be things that will be very challenging with one arm, but I’ll just have to find my own way to take care of the baby…I’ll have to figure it out and be creative.”
And here’s what eleven time ASP World Tour Champion surfer Kelly Slater had to say, “I think it would be a real wakeup if everyone had to go out with one arm and catch these waves—and she doesn’t have a problem with it. On top of that, she just had a kid three months ago, I mean she is…she’s unbelievable.”
Yet, the biggest impression Bethany has made with her peers is her kindness.
She’s truly an inspiration in and out of the water.
So the next time you feel like you’re under a shark attack…
Tell him to “Bite me!” Apparently, it’s not the end of the world.
Way to go Bethany!
(World Surf League with Kelly Slater and Bethany Hamilton at Lower Trestles
Bethany Hamilton & Kelly Slater freesurfing together at Lower Trestles this weekend.
#HurleyPro #SwatchWomensPro September 9 – 20)
So what do you think? Swim with any sharks lately? Had you heard of Bethany Hamilton? Did you and your family have the opportunity to see “Soul Surfer?” In a scale from 1 to 10, what was your opinion of Murphy’s reporting skills? Do you think the Pelican has a future or should we tell him to go take a dive off a long pier? 🙂
Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!