Bethany Hamilton Signing @ Sun Diego Carlsbad
The Soul Surfer herself, Bethany Hamilton, visited Sun Diego Carlsbad to meet her adoring fans at an autograph signing Friday October 9th. Fans and admirers missioned from near and far to meet Bethany and share a moment with a person who has provided inspiration for so many, young and old, male and female, surfer and landlubber like.Friday was the peak of what has been an inexplicable ebb and flow of extreme heat, even on the picturesque shores of Carlsbad. The unrelenting weather however was no match for the passion of fans in pursuit of meeting Bethany Hamilton. Most everyone seems to have heard the harrowing tale of Bethany's 2003 shark encounter, which left her without a left arm. Her 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board lifted her as an inspirational figure who has triumphed in the face of unique adversity to move forward with a career in professional surfing, despite her nightmarish misfortune. The committed crowd downed bottled water and lathered sunscreen to endure the pelting heat in the heart of the Carlsbad Village, some having encamped on the asphalt as much as nine hours in advance of Bethany's appearance. Morale was retrieved as heat risked dissolving faith just as Bethany arrived to her ecstatic crowd of fans. Gratefully signing posters and offering photos to throngs of speechless children and adults alike, radiant grins and tearful faces of joy were on a steady flow. Fans expressed their gratitude for Bethany's inspirational tale and shared stories of their own struggles and triumphs. Throughout the signing, attendees were encouraged to share their stories via social media in a friendly competition to win a surfboard previously ridden and signed live by Bethany, at the event. In the end, a young devotee named Kaelyn took home the well-loved board with a personalized message of encouragement from Bethany herself. As the signing was limited to Bethany's hour time slot, many of those who traveled to meet the young inspiration were left without more than a glimpse. Before making her exit, Bethany took to signing as many posters and copies of Soul Surfer as possible, to accommodate those who could not make their way to the front of the line for an up-close exchange. Bethany took a group photo with anyone who was near enough to fill the frame before her swift exit, as quickly as she arrived. A big thanks goes out to Bethany Hamilton, Rip Curl and everyone who endured the heat to meet someone who has touched their life and inspired them to continue being grateful and positive. The first group to arrive set up camp at 7:30am. Bethany's event began at 4pm. These people could not have been more friendly or in higher spirits after an entire workday of waiting in line beneath the searing sun. This is the sort of inspiration that Bethany Hamilton brings out in her fans! Copies of Bethany's most recent book Body & Soul were available to be signed at the event. The crowds came prepared with much needed umbrellas and sunscreen. The crowd's enthusiasm was palpable. Many visitors were in absolute awe, having the opportunity to meet someone so inspiring. A young fan gifts Bethany a paper incarnation of herself, complete with surfboard and convertible surf shack. T-shirts, stickers, posters, books, and all matter of things were brought in to be signed by Bethany. This surfboard was a standout! Crowds closed in and shared stories with their affable idol. Young Kaelyn takes a photo with Bethany, before being chosen as winner of her inspiration's surfboard. And she's out! See you again next time.