Back in 2003, we all heard the story of 13-year-old surfer Bethany Hamilton. The Hawaiian-born surfer was out on the waves with her friend early one morning in Kauai. While lying on a surfboard, her arm, which was dragging in the water, was bitten off by a 13-foot tiger shark. The young woman was determined to surf again and got back on the board just a month after losing her left arm and 60-percent of her blood in the attack.
The story made the morning talk show circuit and Hamilton wrote a book about it called Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. After shopping the story around, the book has been turned into a film.
Soul Surfer is directed by Sean McNamara and stars AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany. Robb wore a green sleeve to allow a stump to be digitally added in post-production. The film also marks the acting debut of country singer Carrie Underwood. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt star as Bethany’s parents.
There was some controversy about how much religion should be included in the film, including an incident where the words “Holy Bible” were edited off during a prayer scene. After protests from the Hamilton family, the words were restored.
The film will be released in theaters on April 8. In 2005, with one arm, Hamilton took first place in the NSSA National Championships and in 2007, she turned pro.