Thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton was Hawaii's top female surfer in her age group and one of the best in the United States when she made headlines in 2003 after being attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark. She had gone surfing on the morning of Halloween with her best friend Alana, her brother Byron and Alana's father Holt. Bethany was lying sideways on her board with her left arm dangling in the water when the shark came up from below and bit her arm off just below the shoulder. Her surfing partners acted quickly, applying a tourniquet to her arm with a surf leash and paddling her to shore on her board. Bethany passed out on the beach while waiting for an ambulance.
Despite losing 60 percent of her blood, she survived several surgeries and avoided infection. Remarkably, Bethany was in the water less than a month later, catching waves on Thanksgiving Day. Her balance was slightly off, but she quickly adjusted and showed the same aggressive style she was known for before her accident. Although it's more difficult for her to paddle out, she refused any special treatment in her return to competition surfing and won her first national title in 2005 at the National Scholastic Surfing Association National Championships.
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