Inspirational Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton has been awarded the international wildcard spot for the Piha Pro Challenger Series Event to be held at Piha in March 2020.
Hamilton has had a few years away from competing while she has focused on her feature film Unstoppable, which tells her incredible life story.
At the age of 13 Hamilton was surfing with friends off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, when a 4m tiger shark took a bite of her left arm, severing it at the shoulder. Despite the horrific attack she quickly returned to the water, resumed surfing and in doing so inspired millions. She never lost sight of her dream to be a professional surfer.
Shortly before her recent hiatus Hamilton competed as a wildcard in a number of WCT events, most notably finishing equal third at the 2016 Fiji Women’s Pro in pumping surf at Cloudbreak.
With 10,000 points on offer for the winner of the Piha Pro, opportunities in major events such as this can be life changing for the recipients of these types of wildcards.
“I am putting an emphasis on competition this year!” smiles Hamilton. “I’ve always had a passion for competition. After making the documentary and being able to put so much focus on surfing, plus doing well at Fiji, I feel like I’m at a time in my life where I’m surfing better than ever and feel like I’d do well on the World Tour. And it’s a place I’ve always seen myself. So, I figure I’d take another stab at qualifying and have fun along the way.”
“I feel like I’m at a time in my life where I’m surfing better than ever and feel like I’d do well on the World Tour. And it’s a place I’ve always seen myself. So, I figure I’d take another stab at qualifying and have fun along the way.”
Hamilton will be seeded into the second round of the Challenger Series event and hopes to use the opportunity as a springboard for Championship Tour qualification in 2021.
Jessi Miley Dyer, WSL senior vice president of tours and events, considers Hamilton to be a perfect candidate for the WSL international wildcard at the Piha Pro. Hamilton will also lead the Rising Tides Programme at Piha, a project where local girls of all ages will have the opportunity to share waves and stories with some of the world’s best female surfers.
“Bethany is one of the most inspirational humans in the world,” Miley-Dyer said. “Not only is she an incredible surfing athlete, but a woman with incredible passion and determination. The WSL is really excited to see one of our sport’s biggest icons, fully commit to the Challenger Series in 2020. We can’t wait to see her share her time with the young girls from Piha and the greater New Zealand surfing community.”
The 2020 Piha Pro World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) event will run from March 16-22 at Piha.