Movie Review: Soul Surfer
by Dana Chaffin


Soul Surfer DVDSoul Surfer opens in theaters nationwide April 8, 2011. To find a theater near you visit This action packed film is based on the true story of champion surfer Bethany Hamilton. At 13 years old she had a promising future in surfing when she was attacked by a shark and lost her arm. This film is a story of how this Christian family faced this tragic situation and strengthened their faith and family. Her story will inspire and encourage viewers while the talented cast and high production quality will keep them glued to their seats. Definitely a must see!


Soul Surfer is the inspiring true story of teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton played by Anna Sophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) from Hawaii. At the young age of 8 years old she entered and won her first surfing competition. She was a natural and surfing was her life. But on Halloween morning 2003 her determination and faith were tested when she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark. She was rushed to the hospital and was fortunate to survive. However; her life would change because due to the injury her arm had to be amputated. Most surfers would have given up and found something else to do with their time, but not Bethany. Her strong faith kept her hope alive. She knew God was in control and would see her through. Bethany said "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).

Behind the movie

About the author

Dana Chaffin is a Christian freelance writer who has published many articles on sites like:,, and Passionate about Christian film, her desire is to get the word out about Christian movies to as many people as possible. More...

Rich Deem, editor

Bethany's family was a great encouragement and support through her recovery. They were also learning to deal with her life changes, but they could never give up while her faith and positive attitude seldom falter. Her parents Tom Hamilton played by Dennis Quaid (Something to Talk About, The Parent Trap) and Cheri Hamilton played by Helen Hunt (Pay it Forward, As Good As it Gets) worked closely with the crew to make sure Bethany's story was truthfully told in every detail. Just weeks before the attack Bethany and her mom had prayed for God to reveal His plan for Bethany's life. Since the attack she has had opportunities to share her testimony and show God's love to more people than she could have ever imaged. She says "I think that if I can help other people find hope in God, then that is worth losing my arm for". She returned to the water only months after the attack and in just over a year she won her first National Title. You can find out about her upcoming surf competitions at

Another person that encouraged Bethany was youth pastor Sarah Hill played by Carrie Underwood (Winner of American Idol, Award winning Country Music Star). Sarah personally understood Bethany's situation after the attack. She had suffered a surf injury herself, a broken back and neck. Through her injury and recovery she trusted God and His plan for her life became clear. She returned to surfing and became involved in youth ministry and has done so for over 10 years.

Conclusion Top of page

Soul Surfer is a powerful story with something for all viewers. The action scenes are amazing and the story is incredible. It will show that God can even take the most terrible accident and turn it into a way to grow HIS Kingdom. Bethany's faith and encouragement will leave you speechless. She never quit! She followed God's plan and look at the impact she is having on so many lives. Be sure to check out the ministry resources and downloadable study guides at

Soul Surfer DVD
Soul Surfer

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Last Modified March 30, 2011


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