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August 6, 2012. Kuta, Bali – Professional surfer, star of Hollywood blockbuster Soul Surfer and shark-attack survivor, Bethany Hamilton led a surf lesson for unprivileged children from orphanages including Benih Harapan Orphanage in Bali on Friday. Kids ranging in age from 8 to 13 joined global icon and role model Hamilton for an afternoon of fun and surfing at Legian Beach in Kuta.
Hamilton, 22, who is currently in Bali preparing to surf in the 2012 Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang Invitational (July 15 – August 26), helped the kids catch the small inside white-water waves on longboards all afternoon. She provided instruction on basic ocean safety, environmental awareness and the fundamentals of surfing. She also inspired the kids to follow their dreams and make their passions reality with her incredible story. After the surfing lesson, the kids were treated to lunch and a photo opportunity with Hamilton at the Rip Curl School of Surf.
“It was a special day for me to be able to share surfing with these kids,” Hamilton said. “I hope it's something they can continue to do for the rest of their lives. I know they've been through a lot at such a young age. Hopefully surfing can be a positive outlet for these kids as they continue to grow up.”
The surf lesson was a joint effort by the Rip Curl School of Surf and Soul Surf Project Bali, a group that connects underprivileged youth in Bali with surfing equipment and lessons. Hamilton and Rip Curl also donated basic food supplies including sacks of Rice, Noodles and Milk plus five surfboards to Soul Surf Project Bali to use for future lessons and surf outings.
After the surf lesson, Hamilton met with fans and signed autographs at the Rip Curl Memorial Store on Jalan Legian in Kuta. The turnout was unexpectedly big, over 500 fans packed the store and stopped traffic on the busy street, hoping to meet one of the most inspirational surfers of all time. Hamilton said she was amazed by the turnout and support from her many fans in Bali.
“It was amazing to see all the people who came out today,” Hamilton said. “I was expecting it to be pretty low-key, but there were so many more people than I expected. Everyone in Bali is so passionate about surfing. It's great to see.”
About Bethany Hamilton
Born into a family of surfers on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of eight, Bethany entered her first surf competition, the Rell Sun Menehune event on Oahu, where she won both the short and long board divisions. This sparked a love for surf competition within her spirit.
In 2003 Hamilton became arguably the world's most famous surfer when, at the age of 13, she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Hamilton with a severed left arm. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, she returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal of becoming a professional surfer. In 2004 Hamilton published a best-selling autobiography entitled Soul Surfer, which was later made into a successful motion picture that played to audiences around the globe.
About Soul Surf Project Bali
Soul surf project Bali gives orphan children a better perspective, hope for the future and let them forget about all of their problems. The children from children's homes and orphanages learn to conquer the best waves of the world. They get their extensive surf lessons from professionals, and have the ability to grow in the sport of surfing. The children are helped to find a job in the major commercial surf scene on Bali, to help them have a chance at a brighter future.
Surfing is a method which helps us to protect the coast and its environment. Surfing will be given as a reward for growing awareness, knowledge and a new attitude. While surfing, the kids are in the elements of mother nature, by being in those elements they will learn to appreciate it!
The main targets for Soul Surf Project Bali are to create awareness for the protection of the environment of Bali. To create opportunities for young talented surfers on Bali and to create opportunities for unprivileged kids on Bali to get a job in the Balinese surf scene.