Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of faith, determination, and hope. And now, her story has become a major motion picture as SOUL SURFER opens in theaters across the nation on April 8. SOUL SURFER features an all-star cast, including AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.
Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of eight, Bethany entered her first surf competition—winning both the short and long board divisions and sparking a love for surf competition within her spirit.
On October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai's North Shore. The attack took Bethany's left arm, seemingly ending her career as a rising surf star just as it was beginning. Bethany says:
"It was Jesus Christ who gave me peace when I was attacked by the shark. They had to get me to the beach, which took 20 minutes of paddling. 'The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:6-8)."
After losing more than 60 percent of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Lifeguards and doctors believe her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through the traumatic ordeal. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer.
Within six months of being married, Cheri and Tom became Christians through the influence of surfing friends. The Hamiltons taught their three children about the love of Jesus and provided them the opportunity to grow in their faith at home and through Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and religious education classes.