When Bethany Hamilton decided to hit the waves on Oct. 31, 2003, she had no idea one ride would forever change her life. Attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, the then-13-year-old surfer lost her left arm and 60 percent of her blood. But according to Hamilton, she also gained an understanding of her purpose.
Hamilton not only returned to the surfboard but won several championships. She now travels the country telling others how her faith in Christ helped her overcome her challenging circumstance.
Her compelling story caught the attention of Hollywood executives, and a biopic of her life, Soul Surfer, hits the big screen on April 8. The film has drawn heavy-hitters such as Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid to play Hamilton’s parents, and country singer Carrie Underwood, who portrays Hamilton’s youth leader.
Hamilton hopes the film will highlight God’s ability to help people rise above seemingly insurmountable opposition.
“We never know what life brings,” Hamilton says. “Maybe there are some rough times for you now or in the future.
“I think that if you seek God first and focus on Him, you’ll be able to endure those struggles and hardships.”