Soul Surfer, which hit the theatres on Friday, April 8th, 2011, is the poignant tale about the comeback of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack.
Growing up in Hawaii, Bethany lived to surf. She and her best friend Alana Blanchard, were homeschooled so they could spend more time catching waves. After placing 1st and 3rd at a surf competition, Bethany and Alana are picked up by sponsors, leading to Bethany's decision to stay home from her church’s mission trip to Mexico - A decision that changes her life forever.
On October 31st, 2003, the then 13-year old Bethany went for a morning surf to Tunnels Beach in Kauai, along with Alana, her father and brother. She was lying sideways on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14ft. tiger shark attacked her and ripped her left arm off just below the shoulder. Thanks to rapid action by Alana's dad, the 13-year old is saved but now has to face life, without a limb
In the days and weeks following the accident, Bethany learns to overcome all sorts of obstacles, from tying her bathing suit to carrying the groceries. While difficult that does not seem to faze the teen - her biggest fear, is the thought of never surfing again.
The rest of the movie focuses on the determination and resilience of this young teen, as she tries to get back on the board, not just to surf, but to compete against able-bodied contestants. Her setbacks and ultimate victory is a truly inspiring thing to watch - leaving every viewer with the feeling that you can achieve just about anything if you believe in yourself and never give up.
The character of Bethany was played superbly well by Coloradonative AnnaSophia Robb, who as it turns out, had very limited surfing skills. Therefore, it was up to the real Bethany to teach her how to paddle like a pro, while taking it upon herself to perform some of the most difficult wave-riding stunts - Which, as you will agree once you see Soul Surfer, were the highlights of the movie.
If you are getting ready to see it, be sure to carry some tissues, but most of all be ready to come out inspired and ready to take on any challenge that the world will throw at you!
Resources: Soulsurfer, wikipedia.org