Inspirational 'Soul Surfer' Story Hits Big Screen

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OAHU, Hawaii - Bethany Hamilton was only 13 years old when she fell victim to a vicious shark attack while surfing off the coast of Hawaii. Just three weeks later, however, she was back in the water on her board, learning to surf with only one arm.

Today, the 19-year-old has defied all odds and is among the top female surfers in the world-- and her inspirational story is now the focus of the new film, "Soul Surfer."

The film-- based on Hamilton's autobiography with the same title-- tells the story of her amazing comeback and strong Christian faith. It boasts an all-star cast, including Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood and AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany.

CBN News visited the set of "Soul Surfer," which is being filmed on the beautiful shores of Oahu, Hawaii. Everyone from the actors to directors and producers are so inspired by Hamilton's story and hope moviegoers will feel the same.

Click play to watch Wendy Griffith's report followed by her special surfing session with Bethany Hamilton.

"I think it's a metaphor for everyone's life. You get knocked down," director Sean McNamara said. "Whatever your 'shark attack' is or whatever happens to you, you have a shot to get back up. And Bethany shows that not only can you get back up on the board, but you can excel at it."

Actor Dennis Quaid plays Hamilton's father, Tom, in the movie. He first learned about her while watching the Today show.

"She was so inspiring and the story so touched me I wound up with tears just streaming down my face at seven in the morning," Quaid told CBN News. "And then it just so happened that 2 days later they offered me the part to play her father and it was a no-brainer for me. I said, 'yeah, I'd really like to be a part of this story.'"

In the movie,16-year-old actress Anna Sophia Robb plays Bethany and learned to surf for the part.

"It was so much fun," she said. "Going out with Bethany, getting surf training from professional surfers. It's so much fun. I'm going to have to move close to the ocean now because I can't get enough of it."

Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton says she hopes the movie about her life will inspire people to trust God no matter what they're going through.

"I just want to share that in the movie that life's not about... having all your limbs or just having everything perfect," Hamilton said. "Life's not perfect, but through our imperfections is where we can bring beauty and good stuff out of life and glorify God through what we overcome."

Producers say "Soul Surfer" is now in editing and could hit the theaters by this fall.

*Originally published March 25, 2010.

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Wendy Griffith

Wendy Griffith

CBN News Anchor/Reporter

Wendy Griffith is a Co-host for the The 700 Club and an Anchor and Senior Reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to The 700 Club, she co-anchors Christian World News, a weekly show that focuses on the triumphs and challenges of the global church. Follow Wendy on Twitter @WendygCBN and "like" her at