Bethany was born to Tom and Cheri Hamilton on February 8, 1990 in Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents, both surfers, had moved to Hawaii due to their own interest in surfing.
So with her two brothers (Noah and Timmy) and surfing parents, Bethany Hamilton was destined to at least attempt surfing. Not only did she attempt surfing, but began entering surf contest at the age of eight, where she would win competitions in the short and long board categories over the next five years. She even picked up a sponsor (Rip Curl) and began to have dreams of professional surf career.
On October 31, 2003, at the age of 13, Hamilton was attacked by a tiger shark while surfing with the now pro surfer Alana Blanchard and Blanchard's parents. The tiger shark severed Bethany's left arm just below the shoulder. Hamilton was said to have lost over sixty percent of her blood that day. Tom Hamilton was supposed to have knee surgery that day, but Bethany took her father's place on the operating table and her life was saved, and her arm amputated.
In less than a year, Bethany was back to surfing and pushing herself to compete at a competitive level and placing in a number of competitions.
In addition to regaining her surfing legs and competing, Bethany's became a popular inspirational story on the media circuit appearing in a number of different media outlets, including 20/20, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen, and the Tonight Show. She also took a strong stand to use her situation to share how her triumph and perseverance came from her faith in Jesus.
In 2006 she published her biography with MTV, Soul Surfer.
In 2007, Bethany Hamilton went professional in the sport of surfing, in which she continues to surf professionally, as well as work with her foundation (Friends of Bethany) as well as write other books including her upcoming Christian devotional Soul Surfer Devotions.
In the film AnnaSophia Robb plays Bethany Hamilton. Bethany Hamilton's parents are played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt.
In the film Carrie Underwood plays the part of Sarah Hill, a missionary who had previously broke her neck and back in a surfing incident, and after attending Calvary Chapel Bible College moved to Kaui in 2001 to become a missionary, founding Kaui Child, an organization geared towards reaching kids on the Hawaiian Island.
The film also features a role for Craig T. Nelson as Bethany's orthopedic surgeon.
Not quite an award contender film (but definitely a biographical film), I can't help but ask if AnnaSophia Robb will receive any type of award attention for portraying this Real (Reel) Person.