Surfer Bethany Hamilton Faces New Challenges in ‘Unstoppable’

Bethany Hamilton interacts with a crew member working on the new film about her life, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable,” which opens in theaters Friday. ES Entertainment photo

America first saw Bethany Hamilton as the 13-year-old surfer who lost her arm to a tiger shark.

A new documentary, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable,” follows 2011’s “Soul Surfer” dramatization of Hamilton’s ascendency as a world-class surfer. This sequel captures the essence of this fearless Christian athlete and what her story offers the world.

Back in 2010 this reporter was invited to Hawaii by Tri-Star Pictures to see scenes filmed for Soul Surfer and interview those involved in the production. During an interview session, reporters were astounded by the then-19-year-old’s answer to the following question: “The Lord has used this incident in your life to help others, but if you could go back to that day, would you have stayed out of the water?”

“Umm … no,” she thoughtfully began. “It was God’s will for it to happen. So much good has come out of what seems like a terrible thing, and it’s been an amazing journey. I’m still doing what I want to do. More than what I ever dreamed of. And I know that God’s in control, that this has been a part of His plan.”

For many, Soul Surfer lacked the intensity or depth that Hamilton’s story demanded. Her tale is one not so much of what was lost but what she found. Her faith increased rather than diminished after the shark’s onslaught, and various critics felt it didn’t transfer onto the screen.

In Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, Hamilton, now a wife and mother, takes on her greatest sports challenge: the biggest wave of her career (ironically named “Jaws”).

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Source: Baptist Press