The Comeback Kid
updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
To train, she surfed daily for a month, drilled on a balancing board at her Kauai home and strengthened her arm. In the water Hamilton mounts her customized board (7 in. longer than before) using a special strap, then kicks and paddles into the waves. With just one arm, she no longer speeds to the sweet spot of a breaking wave. Instead she tries to position herself in advance. Then, supporting herself with her hand, she springs in one motion to her feet. Though she has quickly come to terms with the stump she calls Stubby, "I always have two arms in my dreams," she notes. "They aren't special dreams. Just ordinary. But I always have two arms."