The Story of Soul Surfer

For many in the surfing world, the term “soul surfer” (coined in the 1960s) often refers to someone who doesn’t compete, who surfs simply for the pleasure of surfing.  Bethany’s dad suggested the term as the title for her book many years ago, and the name stuck.

For me soul surfing is just being passionate about the ocean and surfing. That’s what I am. I’m passionate about being out there and enjoying God’s creation.

– Bethany Hamilton

She is an athlete who has always liked competition, but Bethany’s passion for surfing was rooted in her soul. She sees her passion as a gift from God and as what compelled her to continue surfing against all odds.


In 2004, Bethany Hamilton published her autobiography “Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board,” in which she tells the moving story of her triumphant return to competitive surfing. The book has since become a #1 New York Times bestseller and continues to inspire readers worldwide.


Three years later, Bethany and filmmaker Becky Baumgartner produced a documentary entitled “Heart of a Soul Surfer,” which revealed Bethany’s heart and perspective behind her story.

 The book and the documentary served as the inspiration for a hollywood screenplay.


Bethany’s story hit the silver screen on April 8, 2011 as the feature motion picture “Soul Surfer” starring AnnaSophia Robb. The film quickly became the #1 grossing Live Action Surfing Film at the box office and was applauded with several accolades and top ratings.

Movie Accolades & Reviews (+)


» The #1 grossing Live Action Surfing Film at the box office! – Box Office Mojo (July 6, 2011)

» One of “only” four films released in 2011 that received a very rare “A+” CinemaScore rating.

» Inspirational Country Music Award — “BEST FILM 2011”

» Hawaiian Film Festival — ”Best Hawaiian Film 2011”

» Nashville Family and Faith-­‐Based Film Festival — “Best Inspirational Film of 2011”

» Won the Christian Oscars (The Family Movie Guide Awards) for “Best Family Film of 2011” and “Best in Show – Best Inspirational Film of 2011”

» According to, the Top Five “Family Faith Based Genre” films of all time are: Narnia Franchise (3 films), “Passion of the Christ”, “Soul Surfer”, “Fireproof” and “Courageous”.

» Received an AMC “5 Star” Audience rating, top score!



» People’s Choice Award 2012 – Favorite Book Adaption

» ESPY 2011 – Best Sports Film

» TEEN CHOICE 2011 – Best Film Drama, Best Actress Drama… AnnaSophia Robb

» SPIRIT AWARDS 2011 – Best Film Drama



» “‘Soul Surfer’ is the best faith-based film ever made” – Orlando Sentinel 4/5/11

» “As a portrait of a spirited, resilient athlete, the movie succeeds best, unafraid to face its heroine’s daunting challenges directly.” – New York Times 4/7/11

» “To me the phrase ‘Soul Surfer’ is about finding your path, your walk with God – or  your surf with God – and making the best of the ride,” she said. “In the end, that is the most important.” – Carrie Underwood (plays “Sarah”)