The World Surf League officially announced that Hawaii’s Bethany Hamilton has been awarded the coveted wildcard entry for the 2015 Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles. The event is stop number 7 on the women’s World Championship Tour and marks the second year that Trestles has been on the schedule.
“Thrilled to accept the wildcard for the Swatch Women’s Pro,” Hamilton said. “I have been surfing and competing at Lowers since I was a young girl and love the wave! Looking forward to getting a jersey back on among the best!”
“Bethany is one of the most inspiring surfers on the planet,” Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Women’s Commissioner, said. “She’s incredibly powerful and tremendously talented and we’re very happy to announce she’ll compete alongside the world’s best at the upcoming Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles.”
“We’ve been speaking to her since early last season about potentially accepting a wildcard for a Championship Tour event,” Miley-Dyer continued. “However, scheduling hasn’t been in our favor until now and the WSL is very excited to see how she fares at one of the most high-performance waves on the planet.”
Hamilton is no stranger to the Big Leagues. She received a wildcard for the WCT Gidget Pro at Sunset Beach in 2009 at age 19. In 2010 she received the wildcard at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, and in 2012 she was awarded the wildcard at a men’s specialty event, the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang. Last December Bethany received the wildcard entry for the Women’s Pipe Invitational and received a third place finish behind Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright. During that event, Hamilton pulled into solid double overhead barrels that amazed the crowd, but was unable to find any exits for big scores.
Bethany at the 2012 Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang
Charging 2nd reef Pipeline in late 2013
Bethany became an international star after surviving a shark attack that took her left arm at the shoulder when she was just 13. She returned to the water only two months later and has been ripping at a world-class level ever since. In 2008 she competed full time on the World Qualifying Series. That season Hamilton locked in a 3rd place finish at the Roxy Pro and finishing 14th in the world, narrowly missing qualification for the World Championship Tour. Since then she has focused on her performances in waves of consequence with several trips to Bali and the Mentawai Islands, as well as tow-surfing at Jaws in Maui, and of course charging on the North Shore of Oahu. In March of 2014 Hamilton won her first WQS contest – the Surf-N-Sea Pipeline Women’s pro. She has the biggest social media following of any surfer in the world, even beating out surf superstars Kelly Slater and Alana Blanchard.
Hamilton is considered to be one of the best in the world by her peers despite not being on tour, and gets consistent attention from the biggest surf media websites in the world. In 2011, Bethany’s life story was made into a feature movie called Soul Surfer. Following the movie, Soul Surfer was made into a children’s book series. Hamilton has also made several guest appearances in reality TV shows including “The Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, and she even won $25,000 on “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader.” Recently, Bethany and husband Adam welcomed the birth of their first child Tobias Dirks in June.
At the Swatch Women’s Pro Bethany will be up in Heat #3 of Round 1. She will face current World No. 1 Courtney Conlogue and Brazil’s Silvana Lima. Watch the event live on worldsurfleague.com from September 9th to the 20th!