Faith, Family and Waves:
Behind the Scenes of BETHANY HAMILTON: UNSTOPPABLE
By Katherine Harrington, Contributing Writer
If you’re unfamiliar with Bethany Hamilton’s story, the pro-surfer was involved in a tragic shark attack at just age 13 when a shark bit her arm off. Hamilton miraculously survived the attack and was out surfing only four weeks later. The shark attack skyrocketed her into fame and the award-winning movie SOUL SURFER, with Dennis Quaid and AnnaSophia Robb, told the dramatized version of her life after the attack. Now, in the new documentary BETHANY HAMILTON: UNSTOPPABLE, audiences will see the real Bethany, who is still overcoming and conquering her own mini “shark-attacks.”
The real soul surfer, Bethany, is ready to be shown to the world from her own fresh new perspective that has never been seen before. In Movieguide®’s exclusive interview, Hamilton opened up in a revealing and inspiring interview which reinforces all of her talent, humility and “indescribable peace” for which she credits God. Talking openly about her faith, Bethany says, “ever since I was a young girl, … I grew up in a Christian home, and I had my own child-like faith as a young girl …when the shark attack happened. I already knew that He had me in His care, and I trusted that He had a plan and a reason for all this. I totally believed that.”
Hamilton recalled a particular verse that speaks to her understanding that God provides peace. She continued, “I just had a unique sense of peace like there’s this verse in the Bible, ‘the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and mind.’ I really believe that like was a huge part of how I dealt with the initial loss of my arm and even still to this day.” During this challenging season, this was a great comfort to her and still is to this day, “God’s my rock, and now being a mom …, I can look back and see how influential my Mom was in my own life, praying with me and reading God’s word to me.”
In 2013, the Christian surfer married Adam Dirks and the two have two sons together. Hamilton spoke about trying to figure out and find the balance between professional and personal saying,” [it’s] something we’re trying to figure out…. It kind of feels like it’s a continual process.” Hamilton tries to spend every day living with the “making the most of what you’ve got” mentality. As an accomplished surfer, Hamilton says that talent isn’t everything, “you may be talented, but if you’re not a hard worker you won’t go very far.” On a “good” day Bethany surfs for six hours to constantly develop her talent and skill, her kids are incredibly important to her though so she herself is finding the balance in her own “ebbs and flows of life.”
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Life with these 3 ❤️❤️❤️ Everything happens for a reason! And I believe God’s will is better than ours! I’m often asked, “Do you think about what life would have been like if you had not lost your arm?” I kinda glance that thought when they ask me, but then I celebrate where my life is now and who I get to share it with!!! I believe I’m right where I’m meant to be! Last night was really special sharing @unstoppablethefilm with loved ones and dear friends here in LA. In theaters this weekend!!!! #unstoppable
Hamilton and her family live in Hawaii, a perfect destination for an avid surfer. “You know we’ll all get wet in the ocean. We’ll all surf. Adam and I will take turns or Grandpa and Grandma will come down, and Adam and I will sneak out together.” When asked if Bethany could live anywhere else in the world she said, “probably somewhere in the South Pacific, but somewhere similar to Hawaii like Tahiti or Samoa or Fiji [or] some random island. I’m just like an island girl, and I like being able to see the ocean at all times and … be within easy access of the ocean and … the warm climate.”
Nearly 16 years after the attack, her story seems to just be starting. Hamilton and her spouse are working on a passion project. She detailed, “this passion project is in the UNSTOPPABLE year, and it’s just about … encouraging young people to overcome obstacles and …get their feet firmly grounded in who they are and what it is they want in life.” Of what audiences will take away from the movie, Hamilton relayed, “I just think …nowadays it’s just so challenging for the young person and young adult to get through those stages of your life with confidence and to be able to overcome the tough stuff that comes their way; and so, I’m excited to just be able to be more than just an inspiration, to be equipping and encouraging them on a deeper level.”
Before wrapping up, Hamilton was sure to mention, “I’m always growing in my faith… just relying on God’s faithfulness to me, so I’m very thankful.”
To see Hamilton in action, check out UNSTOPPABLE in theaters everywhere July 12, 2019.
See Movieguide®’s review of UNSTOPPABLE here.