WATCH: She lost an arm to a tiger shark but still went on to surf the world championships
Cape Town plays host to the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Film Festival every December. Partnering with VANS and supporting partners like Wesgro, Petco, Long Beach Capital, Gone, Jack Black Beer and York Surf, the festival was born out of a love of surfing and surf culture.
And that, we all know, Cape Town has loads of.
A stand-out this year was the documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable by Aaron Lieber.
"One of the most accomplished athletes of her generation, Bethany Hamilton became a surfing wunderkind after she lost her left arm to a tiger shark at the age of 13. As she continues to chase waves, she now tackles motherhood, but her surfing gets better and better and better. Bethany charges big waves, notably Jaws, and has become an accomplished tow surfer and competitive shortboard surfer. She is an inspirational to many young women," says Wavescape.
The story of Bethany's surfing career is almost unfathomable. Growing up in Hawaii she surfed every corner of the island. She was a natural talent who won almost every single surfing competition she entered.
When tragedy struck one day out on a surf with her best friend in Kauai, she lost her arm to a 14-foot shark, but that didn't stop her to pursue her dreams of being a pro surfer. She rallied and was back in the water just 4 months later.
The doccie tells the story of one of the biggest comeback stories of our era. In 2016 alone she beat a six-time world champion and the top-ranked surfer in the world at a major World Surf League (WSL) competition.
Not only that, just 6 months after giving birth, she surfed one of most intimidating waves in the world, Jaws in Maui, Hawaii. Known for its fifty-foot waves, she handled it with ease:
She sure is un-fricken-stoppable!
Not only do you feel her love for the ocean in every moment of this film, you yourself fall in love with the beauty and easy of every wave. Even the big, really scary ones named after deadly sharks.