11/13/2014 01:13 pm ET Updated Nov 13, 2014

How Pro Surfer Bethany Hamilton 'Relearned' Her Sport After Losing An Arm

Anyone who has attempted to surf knows how tough it can be. The sport requires stamina, strength, balance and agility.

But Bethany Hamilton makes surfing look easy -- and she does so with just one arm.

In 2003, when she was 13 years old, Hamilton lost her left arm to a shark attack while surfing in Kauai waters. Still determined to become a professional surfer, Hamilton returned to the water just a month later. In 2007, she went pro.

Hamilton explains how she paddles, duck dives, drops in, stands up, and straight up shreds; she definitely has to get creative with her technique. Sometimes, for instance, she stands up on her board to achieve a deeper duck dive and she installs makeshift handles on her boards to help her maintain control.

When it comes to paddling, Hamilton scoffs at the notion that it would be difficult -- "I don't, like, go in a circle when I paddle," she said. "I go pretty straight" -- and she similarly dismisses the challenge of popping up, saying she just puts her hand in the middle of the board when she pushes up.

Though relearning to surf was a difficult process, Hamilton's contagious positivity about her persistence never falters.

"It's almost nice that it happened when I was young. You're so much more adaptive when you're young," she said. "I'm stoked I didn't give up."

She should be. Earlier this year, Hamilton won the Surf-N-Sea Pipeline Women's Pro and she's currently working on a biographical documentary film called "Surfs Like A Girl."



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