Laird Hamilton and Bethany Hamilton are two of the most famous surfers in the world, but are they related? The answer is no, they are not. Despite sharing the same last name and a passion for riding big waves, Laird and Bethany have no family connection.
Who is Laird Hamilton?
Laird Hamilton is an American big-wave surfer, co-inventor of tow-in surfing, and an occasional fashion and action-sports model and actor. He was born in San Francisco on March 2, 1964, and moved to Hawaii with his mother when he was an infant. He met his adoptive father, Bill Hamilton, a surfboard shaper and glasser, on the North Shore of Oahu when he was a young boy. Bill taught Laird how to surf and shaped his first board
Laird became a surfing prodigy and dropped out of school at 16 to pursue a modeling career and work in construction. He was discovered by a photographer from the Italian Men’s Vogue magazine L’Uomo Vogue and landed a modeling contract and a photo shoot with Brooke Shields. He continued to do occasional men’s action sportswear print modeling and had sponsorship from the French beachwear company Oxbow surfwear
Laird is best known for his pioneering feats in big-wave surfing. He co-invented tow-in surfing, a technique that allows surfers to catch massive waves that are too fast and powerful to paddle into, by using jet skis or helicopters to tow them into position. He also rode some of the heaviest waves ever recorded, such as Teahupo’o in Tahiti and Jaws in Maui. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest big-wave surfers of all time
Laird is married to Gabrielle Reece, a professional volleyball player, television personality, and model. They have two daughters, Reece and Brody Jo. Laird also has a daughter, Izabella, from a previous marriage to Maria Souza
Who is Bethany Hamilton?
Bethany Hamilton is an American professional surfer and writer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off and who ultimately returned to professional surfing. She was born in Kauai on February 8, 1990, and took up surfing at the age of four. She quickly dominated the local amateur circuit and won several national titles. She was considered one of the best female surfers of her generation
On October 31, 2003, when she was 13 years old, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing with her best friend Alana Blanchard at Tunnels Beach in Kauai. The shark severed her left arm just below the shoulder, leaving her in critical condition and losing over 60% of her blood. She was rushed to the hospital where she underwent several surgeries and received a blood transfusion. She survived the ordeal but faced a long recovery process and the challenge of adapting to life with one arm
Despite losing her arm, Bethany did not give up on her surfing dreams. She returned to the water just one month after the attack and learned how to surf with one arm. She used custom-made boards with a handle for her right arm and modified her technique and balance. She resumed competing in professional surfing events and won several titles, including the national championships in 2005 and the Pipeline Women’s Pro in 2014. She also became an inspirational speaker, author, and media personality. She wrote an autobiography called Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, which was adapted into a feature film in 2011 starring AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany. She also starred in several documentaries about her life and surfing career, such as Heart of a Soul Surfer (2007), Unstoppable (2018), and Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (2019)
Bethany is married to Adam Dirks, a youth minister whom she met through mutual friends in 2012. They have three sons, Tobias, Wesley, and Micah. Bethany continues to surf professionally and share her faith and story with others
Laird Hamilton and Bethany Hamilton are both amazing surfers who have overcome incredible challenges and achieved remarkable success in their sport. However, they are not related by blood or marriage. They share the same last name by coincidence and have different backgrounds and families.
According to Lisa Andersen, a website dedicated to women’s surfing news and culture, Hamilton is a common surname in Hawaii and many surfers have it, such as Bill Hamilton, Laird Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton, and Alana Blanchard’s husband Jack Freestone. However, none of them are related to each other.
Laird and Bethany have met each other a few times and have expressed mutual respect and admiration for each other. They have also collaborated on some projects, such as the documentary Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (2017), where Bethany interviewed Laird about his surfing career and philosophy. They also appeared together in a promotional video for the World Surf League in 2019, where they encouraged people to sign a petition to protect the oceans from plastic pollution
Laird and Bethany are both inspiring role models for surfers and non-surfers alike. They have shown that nothing is impossible with passion, perseverance, and faith.