On stage facing nearly 100 outdoor retailers in a blue sweater, a floral skirt and a white pair of Cobian Aloha sandals (from her own line), “Soul Surfer” Bethany Hamilton seemed as relaxed and laid back as she is on a Hawaiian beach.
Hamilton, flanked by her husband Adam Dirks and co-ambassador and surfing legend Sumo Sato, answered questions for nearly two hours. Hamilton, a pro surfer who lost her arm to a shark in 2003, has developed a significant fan base as an inspirational speaker.
Though Bethany admits she’s a fan of Cobian sandals and slippers, it’s a secondary reason for her joining the company. First is Cobian’s Every Step Matters program. The program, like Hamilton herself, “supports those who seek to: Overcome Challenges and Inspire Others To Do The Same, Preserve the Planet that God Entrusted Us With, Transform impoverished Communities into a Place of Refuge, Encourage Others and Provide Hope.”
It fits in with Hamilton’s personal foundation Friends of Bethany, a non-profit that uses the teaching of Jesus Christ to help people trying to overcome hardships. Bethany embraced Christianity when a 14-food tiger shark mangled her arm left arm while surfing at 13.
When Hamilton isn’t giving inspirational talks and speeches, a full-time business, she’s traveling the world with her husband and two-year-old son, Tobias. She has also appeared on the television show The Amazing Race with her husband, participated in a women’s car rally in Morocco and taught her son to surf.
She’s also finishing her second film, Unstoppable: The Life of Bethany Hamilton, premiering Spring 2018. The 2011 biopic Soul Surfer starred Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt and AnnaSophia Robb as Hamilton.