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Meeting Bill Hamilton

When on the island of Kauai in Hawaii recently, we met surf guru Bill Hamilton.

He grew up in the 1950s in southern LA, where some of the first-ever West Coast surfers — World War II vets overcoming their combat trauma — took him under their surfing wing.

Stepfather of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton (below), Bill is now 73 and is a long-time resident of Kauai, where he has a surfboard-shaping shop. He also makes art boards for private clients. The one pictured above is from a 100-year-old tree that fell in Kokee State Park.

To say Bill has a lot of stories is a severe understatement! One of the most interesting stories he told us is that after a shark bit off the arm of 13-year-old Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton (no relation to Bill) — a story featured in the movie Soul Surfer — Bill began hearing stories from other surfers about a shark cruising a specific surfing territory where sharks don’t normally swim.

Because the shark displayed particularly predatory behavior, Bill and a friend went out and caught the shark. He said the teeth perfectly fit the bite taken out of Bethany’s board.

I love hearing about the lives of other people who’ve lived a colorful life!

Who do you know who’s lived large?

If you want to know more about Bill:

Surferpedia, “the Wiki Encyclopedia of Surfing”


For updates about Martha’s books, news and giveaways, check out her website.

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