Bethany Hamilton, The Soul Surfer

Bethany Hamilton, The Soul Surfer

Although the spring warbler migration is ramping up nicely, this first blog entry for May will contain no bird images.  Instead it is designed to get you into your local theater to view the movie “Soul Surfer” which tells the incredible story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm in an attack by a fourteen foot Tiger Shark on October 31, 2003, while surfing off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.  Bethany Hamilton was only thirteen years old when she lost her arm yet miraculously she was back in the water one month later and competed again in January 2004.  In 2005 Bethany won her first national title and then realized her childhood dream by turning professional in 2007.

My wife and I saw Soul Surfer a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely.  The movie chronicles Bethany’s life and that of her close-knit family, whose lives revolve around surfing and a strong faith in the Lord; a faith that sustained Bethany through the loss of her arm and was her strength to continue on surfing despite the humanly impossible odds. This movie is a must see movie.

In October 2006 while vacationing in California, Deb & I were at the ISA-XXI World Surfing Games being held at Huntington Beach.  Many countries from around the world were represented at these games, including the American Team of which Bethany Hamilton was a member representing her home state of Hawaii. It was an amazing experience for us as we were able to photograph the competitors and actually ended up alongside the Hawaiian team, who explained in detail how to spot developing waves and gauge which ones would potentially result in the perfect wave to ride with the short boards they were using at the games.

The following are some images of the Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton. I trust they encourage you to go see the movie (and plan a trip to Huntington Beach :)).  The surfing images are fairly large crops as they were taken with a 70-200/2.8 IS lens mounted on my first DSLR, the Canon 20D (which you will get a glimpse of in the last image).


Panoramic crop

Riding the wave.

Part of the Hawaiian team.

Heading out for another session.


The Hawaiian Team with the Huntington Beach Pier in the back ground.

And a shot Deb took with her Canon SD-700


  1. A very inspiring story Scott, thanks for sharing. It must have been very moving for you and Deb to have been with the team and learn these valuable life lessons. I don’t think Huntington Beach is on our bucket list but a return trip to Hawaii sure is!


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