ABOUT BETHANY HAMILTONwatch VIDEO
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 entitled SOUL SURFER, featuring 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 the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of eight, Bethany entered her first state-wide surf competition, winning both the short and long board divisions and sparking in herself a love for surf competition. She went on to take runner up at the 2003 US National Championships.
On October 31, 2003, at the age of 13, Bethany was attacked by a 15-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.
“It was what God had taught me growing up that helped me overcome my fear and get back on the board. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9).”
In January of 2004, Bethany made her return to surf competition, placing fifth in the Open Women’s division. With no intention of stopping, Bethany continued to enter and excel in competition. Just over a year after the attack she took first place in the Explorer Women’s division of the 2005 National Scholastic Surfing Association National Championships—winning her first National Title.
In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro. Bethany has since participated in numerous Association of Surfing Professionals and World Tour Events with her major highlight being a second place finish in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships. She competes with the world’s best and travels the globe throughout Europe, South America, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, the United States and Hawaii.
Bethany has shared her life story in her autobiography, Soul Surfer, as well as several faith-based books and devotionals. She was the subject and inspiration of the 2007 documentary, Heart of a Soul Surfer.
Bethany has launched her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports shark attack survivors, traumatic amputees, and serves to inspire others through her life story, and is involved in numerous other charitable efforts.
From a young age, Bethany’s parents instilled within her a faith in Jesus Christ. As a young girl, she made the decision to have a personal relationship with Him. Bethany’s foundation of faith has been her backbone—her source of truth, hope, and strength.
“My youth leader, Sarah Hill, has been a really good support and encourager for me. God gave her a verse for me the day I was attacked: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
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