Bethany Hamilton was gearing up to surf some of the biggest waves of her career, all in front of a filmmaker documenting her life, when the universe threw her another curve ball. The blonde Hawaii native was not easily fazed; she was, after all, already dominating her sport despite the loss of her arm in a shark attack at age 13.
But when she found out she was pregnant, at the height of her game in her mid-20s and after just over a year of marriage, her lifelong dream of motherhood seemed to be happening too fast and too soon – and she wasn’t sure how to grapple with it.
‘I don’t even know what I was thinking,’ Bethany, now 28, says in the new documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable. ‘I had fears of not being able to surf as well or even have the time to surf – but I also had one-armed fears: changing his diaper, holding his head stable enough and being a good mom.
‘I’ve always really looked forward to being a mom one day; that was one of my greatest hopes in life. But then when it finally came … I was almost like rejecting that great hope that I’ve always had.’
For months, she didn’t tell her competitors or her legions of fans around the world; she kept the news quiet as she wrapped her head around her new reality.
Bethany Hamilton, 28, is one of the world’s top surfers and allowed filmmaker Aaron Lieber extraordinary access to her life – documenting her journey from childhood in Hawaii through a shark attack that took her left arm through her rise back to the heights of international surfing