October 24, 2005 12:00 PM

In June 2004, Logan Aldridge was on a boat when a rope he’d wrapped around his left arm got twisted in the propeller, mangling the limb so badly it required amputation. The athletic lefty was devastated. “Then my brother said, ‘That surfer girl left a message for you,’ ” he recalls. It was Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm to a shark two years ago and now travels as a motivational speaker. “I wanted to reach out,” says Hamilton, 15, who had learned of Logan after a pal of his e-mailed her Web site. The two bonded, and in July Logan flew from his Raleigh, N.C., home to Kauai for a visit. She I taught him to surf, he taught her to ride a wakeboard (left). “Hanging out helped both of us,” she says. “We inspired each other.” Motivated by her example, Logan now plays golf and lacrosse as well as wakeboarding. “Realizing what Bethany has done,” he says, “I started to focus on what I could do.”

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