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Bethany Hamilton brings Soul Surfing to a whole new level

  • Bethany in the water

  • Bethany Hamilton Surf Camp!

  • Group lesson on land before going in to the water

  • Dominic catching a wave

  • Bethany and fellow surfers ready to catch some waves

  • Anastacia tandem surfing with instructor and Bethany

  • Grace enjoying a wave

  • Arianna tandem surfing with her instructor

  • Cassidy and Bethany with the Surf Camp board

  • Charlotte in the water

  • Elizabeth and Gemma with Bethany

  • Gemma catching a wave with Bethany

  • Timmothy catching a wave

  • Grace riding a wave

  • The group building sand castles with professional sand-castle builders, and the end result was...

  • ...Amazing!!! One of many wish inspired sandcastles!

  • Bethany with all the wish kids from around America

  • Wish Kids with Bethany at the trophy presentation

  • Make-A-Wish Hawaii staff with the first Bethany Hamilton Surf Camp board signed by the wish kids

“ I wish to surf with Bethany Hamilton ”

Ten wish kids from across the nation had the ride of a lifetime as they surfed their way through an unforgettable week in Kauai, meeting their idol, Bethany Hamilton!

Arriving on a beautiful day in Kauai, ten wish families were welcomed to the “Bethany Hamilton Surf Camp” by a traditional Hawaiian hula dance and ukulele music. Excited wish kids and their families joined together for a welcome dinner where everyone got to know each other.  Dinner was followed by a group activity where thank you cards were hand-crafted for their idol.

Elizabeth and Gemma with BethanyThe next day, the kids experienced their dream come true – they spent an entire day surfing with Bethany Hamilton! With the help of a team of professional surfers, the entire crew of kids and their families caught rolling waves in Hanalei Bay alongside Bethany. Every single child felt the thrill of standing up on their board and riding barrels to shore! Everyone was impressed by the natural talent of the kids - especially Bethany! For the next few days, surf lessons were scheduled along with many other exciting activities.

From paddling with the Hanalei Canoe Club to tubing down the mountain through open canals and tunnels, the families adventured through the island’s hidden gems. A traveling petting zoo was even brought to the kids – goats, rabbits, turtles and many other animals were set-up for the kids to play with. A movie night was also arranged for the families, where they watched Bethany’s story unreel on film. As “Soul Surfer” played, the kids huddled together on the ground  laughing in concert with each other – the former strangers had now become friends. 

One-on-one quality time with Bethany followed the viewing, during which each of the ten kids spent time with the kind-hearted surfer. Conversations of big waves, sharks and surfing were overheard as each child sat down with Bethany in her backyard. 

It was a special moment for the children as well as their families. “To watch the joy on Arianna’s face as she met with Bethany was a dream come true for us as well,” said Miguel Torrente, Arianna’s dad. 

A custom-made Make-A-Wish® Hawaii surfboard was signed by the ten wish kids and Bethany at the end of the night. The keepsake commemorated Make-A-Wish Hawaii’s first “Bethany Hamilton Surf Camp”!

The camp concluded with a proper trophy presentation given to all participating wish kids. The awards were all well-deserved, but the biggest gift of all was the relationships that were built after the week-long experience. At the start of the camp, wish kid Grace said, “I’m here to make friends”, and that’s exactly what she and every other participant did. Their shared passion led to a shared experience and shared memories that will last a lifetime. Before parting ways, the families said their goodbyes, embracing one another with the genuine hope that they will all someday be reunited again as one big soul surfing OHANA.

Special Thanks: Bethany Hamilton & the Hamilton Family, Hawaiian Airlines, Hanalei Canoe Club, Kauai Back Country Adventure, Wong’s Traveling Zoo, Hawaii Life Property Management, Keiki productions LLC, Rip Curl, Roxy/Quicksilver, Hurley, DaKine, Blueplanet, Honey Girl, Hanalei Land Company, Tamatea Nui O Kauai, Planet Sun Hawaii, Hawaii Sand Castle, Project Aloha, HIC, Kukui Nut Lei Company, Sector 9, The Green Apple LLC, Island Princess, JCV Walsh, Mike Coots, Joel Guy, Tiana Gamble, Firefox, Island Princess, Curtis Miyashiro, Bryce Yamashita and surf instructors Russel, Evan, Mike, Kalani, Kaimi and Rochelle. 

The fact that Bethany and the others spent every minute they could with the kids and their families is a testament to the love they all have for the human spirit. ”

— Arianna’s dad, Miguel

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Skylar , 11

Job syndrome, HLH, Lupus

I wish to design a fashionable sun-safe hat for kids!

Skylar's wish reaches HiSky heights!

Colin , 16

alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma

I wish to go to Hawaii to have a sailing experience

Colin Wishes to sail aboard the Hokulea!

Gillyn , 15

Neuroblastoma

I wish to have a purple room makeover

Gillyn gets an upgrade with a room makeover!

Kytin , 7

leukemia

I wish to be a police officer

"Book em’ Danno!” Kytin wishes to be a Police Officer

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2 Comments

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

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Make-A-Wish® Hawaii
P.O. Box 1877
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 537-3118 x100