KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Teen surfer Bethany Hamilton (search) returned to competition Saturday, just 10 weeks after losing her left arm in a shark attack.
Hamilton, 13, placed fifth in her age group in the Open Women Division of a National Scholastic Surfing Association (search) meet at Banyans.
"It was definitely a good start," Hamilton said.
Hamilton's last meet was the weekend before she was attacked Oct. 31; she returned to the water for the first time Thanksgiving Day.
Hamilton began with a modest 2-foot wave but caught a 6-footer during her quarterfinal heat. She kicked her left leg to help propel her 6-foot-2 surfboard into waves and occasionally struggled when pushing off the board with one hand.
"Once I get up on the board, I'm OK," Hamilton said. "Sometimes it's hard to get there."
Hamilton rejected any special treatment, said Bobbi Lee (search), NSSA Hawaii Conference director.
"I offered to give her more time (between heats) or put her in a more favorable heat," Lee said. "She refused. She said she wanted to be treated like anybody else."