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Bethany Hamilton's Fiji Open Charge Ends at the Hands of Johanne Defay in Semi-Finals

Last edited 1st June 2016

Bethany Hamilton's Fiji Open Charge Ends at the Hands of Johanne Defay in Semi-Finals

Inspirational Bethany Hamilton fell just short of an incredible win against the world's best surfers at the unforgiving Cloudbreak reef in Fiji. Hamilton, who lost her left arm to a shark attack in 2003, progressed through to the semi-finals of the Fiji Women's Pro before being eliminated by eventual contest winner Johanne Defay of France.

After gaining a wildcard entry into the event, it was the sixth time Hamilton had contested a world championship tour contest but her best result.

On her run to the semi-finals the 26-year-old Hawaiian took down then world number one Tyler Wright, beat Defay and six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore in round three and then eliminated another Australian, Nikki van Dijk, in the quarter-finals.

Despite Wright's disappointment of an early exit in Fiji, the Australian could not speak highly enough of her rival who was supposed to be disadvantaged paddling into waves with just one arm. "She's the greatest human probably ever," Wright said of her rival and friend. Hamilton was attacked by a tiger shark as a 13-year-old when surfing in Kauai 13 years ago. She returned to competitive surfing a year later and her story became the subject of the movie Soul Surfer.

Competing against the word's best surfers in epic conditions in Fiji, with her husband and baby son watching on, has been a dream come true for Hamilton. "I was stoked with how I did, it was an incredible experience," she said.


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