Shark Attack Survivor Bethany Hamilton Gives Birth to Baby Boy: One Arm Won’t Slow Her Down

National   |   Steven Ertelt, Sarah Zagorski   |   Jun 15, 2015   |   2:50PM   |   Washington, DC

In 2003, professional surfer Bethany Hamilton survived a shark attack on the island of Kauai, Hawaii that left her with a severed left arm. After the incident, Hamilton wrote about the experience in her autobiography, “Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.”

And in April 2011, her story was featured in the film Soul Surfer. Remarkably, despite the tragic incident, Hamilton returned to surfing just three weeks after the attack.

Today, Hamilton, 25, gave birth to her first baby with her husband, Adam Dirks, by her side.

Hamilton and her husband Adam welcomed their first child, Tobias, on June 1, weighing 7.9 pounds and 21″ long. Bethany posted the announcement on her Facebook with the meaning behind Tobias’ name: “He is named after his great grandpa Tobias meaning ‘The goodness of God.’”

Pro-life advocate Liberty Pike of Oregon right to Life congratulated Bethany and Adam.

“Bethany rose to fame after she was injured in a shark attack in Hawaii in 2003. She lost her left arm in the incident. That didn’t stop Bethany from continuing to surf. She has traveled the world sharing her testimony of faith in the face of hardship,” she said. “Bethany’s story, and that of Nick Vujicic (a man born without arms or legs), is a powerful reminder that people are greater than their disabilities, that they can live wonderful, fulfilling lives. It is a tragedy that babies, diagnosed with disabilities in the womb, are being aborted at overwhelming rates because their parents fear their lives will be ‘too hard.'”

“Congratulations, Bethany and Adam! Enjoy your little man,” she said.



Before Tobias’ birth, Bethany said she was ready to take on the challenge of a baby, despite her disability.

In a video announcement about the pregnancy she said, “We have a little surprise for you … baby on board!” She also told People Magazine that she isn’t too worried about being a mom without an arm.

She said, “I’ve been thinking about it, but I often forget that I have one arm. When I think about it, a squirming baby and changing the diaper … I think how I live life, just adjust and adapt to different things, especially things that are a lot easier with two arms. 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 this baby. Of course, I’ll have Adam to help, but if he’s out and about busy, I’ll have to … figure it out and be creative.”

Dirk commented on the exciting baby news and explained that he will be by his wife’s side the entire time. He said, “The early days of life we’re going to have to find the balance. Bethany is going to be feeding the baby and taking care of it, and it’s really essential for her to be able to do that.”

He added, “As we start traveling more, getting into surfing, I know I’m going to be there to support my wife and support our family and do what I can … changing diapers on the beach while Bethany is out there surfing some gnarly wave. I’m all for that and I’m just going to be really stoked to be a dad!”