Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bethany Hamilton to visit valley

Surfer who lost an arm promotes a book


By MICHAEL AMES
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Bethany Hamilton, the 14-year-old Hawaiian competitive surfer who lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark in 2003 and has since earned a spot on the US National Surfing Team, plans to visit the Wood River Valley Jan. 21, 2005.

Hamilton will be attending a book signing to promote her new book "Soul Surfer" at the Community Campus Theater (formerly Wood River High school auditorium) in Hailey.

The event will be held in conjunction with the premiere of "Noah's Arc," a short film about surfer Noah Snyder produced by Walking on Water. The Christian organization founded by professional surfer Bryan Jennings has also produced the surf movie "Change" and "The Outsiders."

Hamilton comes to the valley as one of the most recognizable teenage athletes in the U.S.

In the months following her ordeal, images of Hamilton flooded the media. Since, Hamilton has won the Open Women's Division of the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. National Championships.

Following that amazing win, she was awarded a 2004 ESPY award as the "Comeback Athlete of the Year" and had appearances on The Tonight Show, 20/20, Oprah, People Magazine and Time.

At her website, www.bethanyhamilton.com, pictures of her surfboard from that fateful day, complete with the incredible missing bite, are available along with loads of information on Hamilton for fans and the curious alike.

The exact time of Hamilton's visit has yet to be announced, says event organizer Eric Vick, who is also Hamilton's press secretary for the Wood River Valley. He is nonetheless excited for her arrival.

"I think it's great to have somebody who has had this much exposure coming to the valley," said Vick. "It's always nice for the local youth to have a mentor to look up to."




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