Hawaiian surfer and motivational speaker Bethany Hamilton, better known to fans as the “Soul Surfer”, has announced the arrival of her first child, a boy named Tobias.
Bethany and husband Adam Dirks shared their news via a Facebook post, which at the time of writing has attracted around a million likes, 56,000 shares, and 27,000 comments.
Tobias was born on June 1, measuring 7.9 pounds and 21 inches.
“He is named after his great grandpa Tobias meaning “The goodness of God”,” Bethany said in her announcement. “Adam and I [are] so in love with our lil guy and are stoked to share life with him!”
The Facebook Post
The Shark Attack That Changed Everything
Bethany Hamilton came to worldwide fame after she tragically lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark, which attacked her in the Hawaiian surf in 2003. She was a teenager already on a path to surfing greatness at the time of the attack.
After struggling through the implications and emotional fallout of her injury, Bethany famously decided to get back on the surfboard and learn to surf again, with one arm.
Watch: The Soul Surfer Movie Trailer
It was Bethany’s Christian faith that inspired her to rise above the challenges of her injury, by looking for God’s goodness amidst struggles, and finding new purpose. Today she surfs professionally and gives motivational talks about her experiences and her faith, in churches and public events around the world.
She also uses her platform as a professional athlete to promote a healthy lifestyle, and last year released a book on the topic called Body And Soul. Her foundation, Friends of Bethany, has been established to encourage amputees and young people by “offering hope to overcome through Jesus Christ”.
Bethany’s website BethanyHamilton.com encapsulates her positive attitude in the Bible verse, “Let all that I am praise the lord, may I never forget the good things He does for me” (Psalm 103:2).
Bethany’s Fairytale Hawaii Wedding
In 2014 Bethany married her beau Adam Dirks, outdoors and barefoot, in a fairytale Hawaii wedding. She wore flowers in her hair, a traditional white gown, and sky-blue toenail polish matching her bridesmaids dresses.
Watch: Bethany Hamilton and Adam Dirks’ Hawaiian Wedding
A Very Public Pregnancy Announcement
The couple announced their pregnancy in February this year via a Youtube video, viewed 1.3 million times. In the video, Bethany said that for the first several months of her pregnancy, she continued to surf breaks including the famous Teahupo’o, known as one of the world’s toughest waves.
She even competed in the Womens Pipe Invitational on the Banzai Pipeline in Oahu with baby-in-tum, alongside the world’s top female surfers including Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore.
Watch: Bethany and Adam announce their pregnancy
In her announcement, Bethany said she realised there would be challenges ahead as she raised a baby with one arm, but that she was up to it.
“I often forget that I have one arm, but when I think about a squirming baby, and changing the diaper…it could be really challenging,” she said. “But I think how I live life now, I just adjust and adapt to different things. And I think there’s going to be things that are very challenging but I’ll find my own way to take care of the baby. I’ll have to figure it out and be creative.”
Husband Adam Dirks said at the time that he was looking forward to being a supportive Dad.
“It’s a huge thing taking the father role on,” he said. “As we start travelling more and getting into the surf I’ll be there to support, whether it’s changing diapers on the beach while Bethany’s out there surfing some gnarly wave…I’m all for that. We’re super stoked about this new adventure, stepping into parenthood, so we’d appreciate your prayers and support.”
She Surfs Like A Girl
Bethany is currently working on a crowd-funded film project called Surfs Like A Girl, a surf documentary being made by Aaron Lieber of Lieber Films. It will highlight Bethany’s technical surfing prowess as well as her “can-do” attitude to living with one arm, summed up in her catch-phrase, “I Got It”.
Filming of Surfs Like A Girl is currently on hold but will continue once Bethany hits her stride as a mother.
Watch: Surfs Like A Girl Promo