In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Bethany Hamilton secures her legend status in Fiji.
Surfer Bethany Hamilton is Awe-Inspiring in Fiji
This really isn’t supposed to be happening. In a developing story in Fiji, Bethany Hamilton, the 26-year-old professional surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was 13, is on a roll at one of the World Surf League’s most important contests of the year. Hamilton, who received a wildcard invite into the contest, lost in Round 1, and has since gone on an impressive run, defeating World No. 1 Tyler Wright in Round 2, then beating Steph Gilmore and Johanne Defay in Round 3, sending her straight into the quarterfinals where she’ll face Australian Nikki Van Dijk.
The goofy-footed Hamilton looks completely at ease at the reeling left that is Cloudbreak. Facing the wall she’s been able to easily attack the wave on her forehand with aggressive hooks in the pocket. But her streak is all the more impressive as she’s paddling with one arm. Hamilton retrofits her boards with a strap on the nose so she can more easily duck dive through the heavy waves, especially important when navigating the shallow reef-strewn water of Cloudbreak. The WSL will make the call on conditions later this afternoon and whether or not the contest continues today. Regardless, Hamilton has become a legitimate threat to win the whole thing.
Honoring a Legend
Austin is ready to party, X Games style, with events kicking off this week. After a tumultuous year that saw X Games icon Dave Mirra pass away in February from an apparent suicide (he was diagnosed with CTE last week, posthumously), the biggest franchise in action sports will celebrate Mirra’s legacy with the Dave Mirra BMX Park Best Trick contest where eight of the sport’s best athletes will vie for the Golden Pedal (in honor of the Golden Boy). Mirra won 24 X Games medals and was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame in April.
"Dave Mirra is basically BMX, and his name is synonymous with BMX in the modern age, the household name," said Ryan Nyquist, who’s won 16 medals in BMX. "Dave was always one to push the limits of what's possible on a bike, and to innovate his riding beyond what we all thought was possible. Giving the riders a stage to push their riding and the progression of the sport in the name of Dave Mirra is perfect."
Los Angeles Outdoor Lovers Get a Summer Gift
When most people think of Los Angeles, great hiking probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But it should, especially after the National Parks recent announcement that it had connected 67 miles of trail between Santa Monica, just outside the city, to Malibu in the remote Santa Monica Mountains. The Backbone Trail runs from Will Rogers State Park to Point Mugu State Park and its connection was a serious undertaking that combined several different agencies and a whole lot of outdoor lovers over the years (the effort began in the 1960s). Because the trail runs adjacent to, or through, private land, the behind-the-scenes negotiations have been key to making it happen. The trail was finalized after former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and fitness guru Betty Weirder donated some 40 acres allowing the Parks Service to connect the last piece of the puzzle. The National Park Service, the California Dept. of Parks and Rec., the Santa Monica Conservancy and the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority have all purchased or obtained land over the years to connect the trail. An opening ceremony will take place on National Trails Day, June 4th, at Will Rogers State Park.