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We interviewed Bethany on the Today's Mama Podcast. LISTEN HERE! 

Waves the Size of Houses

Written by my hubby, Adam Dirks - Bethany Hamilton

Have you ever seen a wave as big as your house? Or a barreling wave that your car could fit in? These are waves of consequence. Waves that only a handful of people in the world even care to try and ride. These are the waves Bethany dares to ride.

Bethany Hamilton Family Photo

On January 6, 2016 Bethany and I kissed Tobias goodbye as we left him with a babysitter for the first time. We were pretty nervous leaving him, being the protective loving parents that we are. But it would be okay, he’s a pretty easy-going guy.

The surfboards were already packed in the van, so we jumped right in and took off to the dock. Bethany and I smiled at each other nervously, reassuringly, and took a deep breath. All her training had prepared her for this day.

We were on Maui for an extra large north swell that was hitting Pe’ahi, also known as Jaws. There was a lot of energy in the air when we arrived at the docks. Jet skis were in the water, safety crew was all geared up, boards being loaded into our boat. Everyone was antsy, anticipating what was about to come. Bethany wanted a wave, not just any wave, she wanted a bomb.

Our boats finally arrived to the lineup at Jaws. I thought I knew what this wave was like from watching videos, but in person, Jaws is truly a massive, spell-bounding, and all out destructive force of beauty. This swell was gigantic. The waves weren’t only larger than houses, they could definitely destroy houses at the same time.

As we were whooping and hollering at the sight of the wave, DK Walsh pulls up on his jet ski, “Alright ready to go check it out Bethany?” She smiled a huge smile “YEAH!”

DK is a pro at the Pe’ahi lineup, and he was going to tow Bethany into a bomb. When the waves get to this size, a jet ski is essential. Basically, Bethany sits in the water with her board, holding onto a rope attached to the jet ski. When DK thinks there is a good wave coming he takes off with enough speed to get Bethany up and towing behind the ski; at the same time he has to discern where the massive wave will break, where to place her on the wave, time out the speed of the wave, whip Bethany into a 50 foot monster, and drive off the wave before he gets smoked by the wave as well.

A lot depends on the driver of that ski. A lot.

  • Wetsuit. Check
  • Towboard. Check.
  • Inflatable life vest. Check.
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It was time for us to trust DK. I say us because it took a lot for me as her husband to say, “Yes, Hun, do it.” We had a 1-year-old to think of, but I trusted Bethany’s judgment. Even more so, Bethany trusted DK, who was going to tow her into the most beautiful perfect 50-foot wave that we had ever seen.

It took preparation, determination, courage, and trust for Bethany to ride those waves.

In God’s word, Matthew recounts Peter displaying those same attributes. Jesus was praying on a mountain while the disciples were out on a boat during a storm. “He came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.” (Matthew 14:26-29)

Can you imagine that? It had to take tremendous trust in the Lord for Peter to step out of that boat and walk to Jesus. Imagine what that would have felt like… Nervous, excited, and joyful!

God is calling to us, come, follow me, trust me, have faith in me, for I have a life for you that is full, abundant, and everlasting. We are called to trust in Him fully even with those 50-foot wave moments in life.

Peter’s trust does falter though and Jesus questions, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” It is common for us to doubt and rely on our own, or someone else’s, understanding. And when we do doubt it can feel like we truly are sinking, as Peter was when he took his eyes off Jesus. As Peter was sinking though, he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

During our times of doubt, need, loneliness, and frustrations, Jesus’ hand is always reaching out to us. Jesus is the one I can trust and rely on. His word and gifts to us are so reassuring and true.

Next time an XL swell or even a little trickle comes your way, I challenge you to pray, get into God’s word, seek to have faith in Him, and you will receive the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

When you’re unstoppable, you trust that you are a part of a bigger story. God’s story.

Bethany Hamilton Big Wave Surfing


After you read, join us by making comments about what stood out to you most about this entry. Or tell me about a time in your life when you realized you were part of a bigger story. #BUnstoppable

Bethany Hamilton Podcast Interview

LISTEN to our podcast interview with Bethany HERE! 


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