Bethany Hamilton Marries Adam Dirks
08/19/2013 AT 11:15 AM EDT
The Soul Surfer author, who inspired millions when she refused to give up surfing despite losing her left arm in a shark attack, married fiancé Adam Dirks in Hawaii on Sunday.
"I look forward to being the best wife that I can be for Adam and to starting our new adventure together," Hamilton, 23, tells PEOPLE. "I love surfing, but getting married doesn't even compare. This was definitely the best night of my life."
The couple, who announced their engagement in May, tied the knot in front of 300 guests on a secluded hilltop near on north shore of Kauai, near the tiny town of Kilauea, where Hamilton grew up.
The wedding party (13 bridesmaids and eight groomsmen) as well as the bride and groom were all barefoot for the ceremony. The happy couple wrote and said their own vows. Her ring was white gold with two-carat diamond. His was made from local koa wood and titanium. Their first dance was to Ben Harper's "The Three of Us."
Their engagement was just as picture perfect: "We hiked to our favorite quiet beach, munched on lunch and hung out," Hamilton told PEOPLE of the proposal. "Then we went for a walk to a beautiful garden behind the beach. As we were walking we found two coconuts, my favorite thing to drink, which accompanied the ring. Then he started sharing his heart and love for me, and he dropped on his knee and proposed. I said yes and was crying and laughing all in a jumble. It was beautiful and perfect."
The engagement surprises continued with a boat ride, snorkeling, and an ocean-side dinner with friends and family.
Now that she's married, Hamilton plans to continue her surfing career as well as her motivational public speaking. Also topping the list is some quality time with the new hubby.
"[Adam] and I love to live healthy, active lifestyles, and we hope to share that with others," she has said. "I'm excited to go on some adventures with him as well."
Reporting by JOHNNY DODD