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”
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