Filming began this week on a biopic about Christian surfer
Bethany Hamilton, who has become a top professional surfer despite losing her
arm in a shark attack six years ago.
Soul Surfer stars AnnaSophia Robb (Because of Winn
Dixie) as Hamilton, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents and Grammy
winner Carrie Underwood as a church youth leader.
Photo: Bethany Hamilton
The film is based on Hamilton’s 2004 book, Soul Surfer: A
True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, which
has sold 1.5 million copies.
A native of Hawaii, Hamilton, now 19, entered her first
major surfing competition at age 8 and won such contests as the 1999 Haleiwa
Menehune Championships and competed in the National Scholastic Surfing
Association (NSSA) circuit. But in 2003, when she was 13 years old, her
promising surfing career was nearly derailed when a 14-foot tiger shark
attacked her while she was surfing off Kauai’s North Shore, biting off her left
Hamilton lost more
than half her blood, yet miraculously survived with support from her church and
family. She was back in the water a month later, learning to paddle with one
arm and to find her balance on the surfboard. Two summers later she took first
place in the NSSA National Championships, and in 2008, she began competing
full-time in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying
Recently she competed
at the ASP World Junior Championships, and in 2009
she placed second in the World Junior Pro in Portugal, which propelled her into
the top 12 world rankings.
“I’ve been a writer and producer for the past 32 years, and
I’ve never encountered a more inspiring true story than Bethany Hamilton’s”
said Baywatch co-creator Doug Schwartz, who is co-producing the film.
“The movie will encourage people worldwide to rise above adversity.”
The film’s release date has not been announced.