Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

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She lost her arm in a shark attack and nearly died, but she never lost her faith. Now a major motion picture, Soul Surfer is the moving story of Bethany Hamilton’s triumphant return to competitive surfing and has continued to be a beacon of inspiration to all who hear it. They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? Or that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a teenage girl with God on her side, resolutely pushing aside her pain and panic while being rescued and brought back to shore. “When can I surf again?” was the first thing Bethany asked after her emergency surgery, leaving no doubt that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing, perhaps even less so, than the soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781598599220
Publisher: Oasis Audio
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 755,699
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Bethany Hamilton, whom YM magazine called the “Bravest Girl in America,” has been surfing since she was a toddler. After her shark attack, she returned to competitive surfing and in 2005 took first place in the NSSA National Championships. Now a professional surfer, she is currently ranked among the top women in the world. As well as receiving the 2004 Teen Choice Award for Courage and the 2004 ESPY award for Best Comeback Athlete, she makes many television and other event appearances. Recently, she launched Friends of Bethany, an organization dedicated to supporting and encouraging shark attack survivors and traumatic amputees along with presenting inspiring life stories through movies, projects, and activities.

Read an Excerpt

Soul Surfer

A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
By Bethany Hamilton Sheryl Berk Rick Bundschuh


Copyright © 2004 Bethany Hamilton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-9922-0


To be honest, I never wanted to write a book.

It actually took a lot of convincing by my family and friends, because I'm not someone who likes to talk a lot about myself, or thinks I'm any big deal. But they saw something in my story that would be helpful and interesting to others - and they encouraged me to write it down. So here I am! And actually, when I really thought about it, it seemed like something that I should do. It would give a bigger picture of my faith, my family, and all those people who have helped get me back into the water again. But I'll tell you one thing: it wasn't easy.

It took a lot of people to help me put my thoughts on paper. First, there was Rick Bundschuh, my spiritual advisor and a pastor in the Kauai Christian Fellowship Church. There were certain things I just didn't want to talk about - certainly not to a stranger. So Rick volunteered to do the "translating." We would sit for hours and just talk, talk, talk. I'd pour my heart out, and he'd patiently listen, putting it all down on paper. Then came our writer, Sheryl Berk, who helped me organize and shape all these thoughts into fifteen chapters (who knew I had 200-plus pages in me?). When you're really close to something, it's hard to see things as they truly were or are. So Sheryl, along with my editor, Lauren McKenna, helped me connect the dots. They asked the toughest questions! Stuff that really made me squirm sometimes, but also, in the end, made me dig a little deeper and really be honest with myself and you. In the end, I'm really proud of what we've written here. I think it's truthful, and I hope it inspires and motivates people to tackle any obstacles in their lives. I hope it helps people find faith in God and in their own strength and ability. I hope it motivates someone going through a tough time right now to keep on fighting until they rise above it. You can and will get through it. I'm living proof that where there's a will, there's a way.

What I don't want is for people to pity me or think of me as a person who has had her life ruined. That's not how I see it. My mom is always saying, "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Which is a great outlook on life, if you can actually see beyond the lemons when you're up to your eyeballs in them! My strength came from my relationship with Christ and from the love and encouragement of my family and friends.

In a lot of ways I'm like any fourteen-year-old girl, and in a lot of ways, I'm not. If someone had told me that this is how my life would be, I would have never believed it. It would have seemed too bizarre to be true. Sometimes it still is. I often dream that I have both my arms again, and I wake up expecting the whole shark business to be a nightmare. But it's not. It's my reality now, and I've learned to accept it. I've moved on.

I don't pretend to have all the answers to why bad things happen to good people. But I do know that God knows all those answers, and sometimes He lets you know in this life, and sometimes He asks you to wait so that you can have a face-to-face talk about it. What I do know is that I want to use what happened to me as an opportunity to tell people that God is worthy of our trust, and to show them that you can go on and do wonderful things in spite of terrible events that happen. I don't think it does any good to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. I made myself a promise: I'm not going to wallow or walk around moaning, "Woe is me!"

One other thing you should know: this book really doesn't have an ending yet because I am still learning how to cope every day. I'm not talking about learning how to button my top with one hand. I'm talking about coping with being a celebrity, something I never imagined that I would have to deal with at the age of fourteen. Or coping with people's stares, either because they recognize me, or because they are not used to seeing a person with one arm running down the beach. Or coping with answering endless questions from the media and seeing my face in newspapers and magazines. I'm also learning to cope with the frustration of knowing that if I had both arms to paddle, I just might have done a little better in a surf contest that I have just been in.

I am excited about some of the opportunities to travel and surf all around the world that have come as a result of my attack and return to surfing. But most of all I am excited about what the future holds. Will I make it to the pro ranks in surfing? Will my lifelong friend and surf buddy, Alana, be paddling next to me in the years to come as she is now and was during the attack? Will I be able to make a difference, in some small way, in people's lives by sharing my story?

What does God have in store for me? I really don't know, but I do know one thing for sure: the adventure is only started.


Excerpted from Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton Sheryl Berk Rick Bundschuh Copyright © 2004 by Bethany Hamilton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1Halloween morning1
3A serious competitor33
4A mostly normal life51
6Dark hours81
8The road back101
9Why I do it117
10Keeping the faith131
11An outpouring of aloha143
12On being kind of famous155
13Back in the waves173
15Part of a plan203

Customer Reviews

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Soul Surfer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1040 reviews.
Sydney Rogers More than 1 year ago
I watched the movie and i was soooo into it. I felt what bethany felt. Durring the shark attack my left arm fell alseep!bethany made me want to try surfing.i could read the book and watch the movie over and over again. I say that this was my fav movie and book lov it it is #1
ilovesesamestreet More than 1 year ago
I love this book it is such an amazing story and such a strong girl i would like for everyone of my friends to read this book.
Maile Graber More than 1 year ago
I like this book because it shows that god will allways help you when you need help and if this happends to you and you read this nook you would now what could happen to you and you will be able to get a new perspective and if you get stuck in the inpackt zone you need to get right back up the reason i rote a review is so people would know how much perserverints it took to get back up on the board.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book like no other! She is a wonderful author and has lots of description. Who would be better to tell her story better than Miss Bethany herself? I had to have my friend read it ! My love of surfing fits well with my love of this book! I VERY MUCH reccomend this book to all Bethany fans and lovers of the water.
Andrew Duplantis More than 1 year ago
The movie and the book was life changing.
Mckinzie Henderson More than 1 year ago
I love this book i can not believe she whent through this but im so glad that Jesus had His hand on her i love you and your true faith keep it up and always stay with Him love in Him mckinzie
Jeanette Ball More than 1 year ago
An emotionally trying story of inspirationally overcoming obstacles and having faith in the big picture. I cant wai to see te movie
gretchenpokrant More than 1 year ago
"Soul Surfer" is a very inspirational story about a young girl, Bethany Hamilton, who has a dream. A dream that is very reachable, until it was abrupted by a horrendous experience that would forever change her life. Bethany always wanted to become a pro surfer. She was always said to be the "next big surfer". That was until a horrendous accident occurred. On October 30, 2003, she was relaxing on her board when a shark came up from under her and bit her arm off. After that, her life forever changed. I honestly don't know many people who would've handled this situation as well as Bethany did. Her passion and dedication was truly inspiring. The fact that she didn't wallow in self-pity, not only says a lot about her character, but the fact that she is able to overcome anything life throws at her. I really liked how inspirational the story and message was. It really inspired me to be the best person I can possibly be. Bethany's story also showed me no matter what life throws at you, you can handle it. Even if that means modifying everything in your life. I also really liked how she was motivated by God. I think everyone has their go to person and God was Bethany's. He showed her that it is okay to be different, it's okay to be strong, it's okay to keep living your everyday life. The only thing I really didn't enjoy was towards the middle, it did get a little dry. However, that is the only complaint I have! I think every girl should read this book. It really showed me that it's okay to be different. In school now of days, it's not the cool thing to be 'different. However, Bethany's teaching girls all around the World to embrace their uniqueness and I think that takes a special person (which Bethany clearly is). I would rate this book a 5 because the message was so strong and so appealing to people all over the World. You never think you'll be the 'one', but sometimes you are and you have to deal with it. Bethany's story is a true inspiration to my life. Truly a great read:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is 1 word. AWESOME!!
Bridget Moore More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie...I applaud you Bethany!!!
Kamryn Reams More than 1 year ago
Saw the movie and thought this book would be cool. This book is awesome!
Staci Layton More than 1 year ago
Best book ever love it!
Dawn Barrett More than 1 year ago
im in fiifth grade and i was able to understand it perfectly. this would be a great book for like fourth grade and up.
Seaberg Family Account More than 1 year ago
SO Inspirational! Good for younger kids, too. I am almost 10 and I enjoyed this book.
Abbie Claire Boozer More than 1 year ago
The book AND movie r so inspiring to me i wish tht i cood b just like Bethany with the grit she had not to scream out loud but to also be on His side i pray for Bethany Hamilton every day and a word if advice for those who like to surf DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT sneak out tht will just kead u to horrible things and situations that people every day have to go thru BETHANY HAMILTON I PRAY FOR U AND I HOPE THT U LOVE THE PEOPLE THT R ON UR SIDE THT SUPPORT AND PRAY FOR U
Ines Rantanen More than 1 year ago
i am in the same world as her when i read this book and i love that shes strong enough to write this book this makes me feel stronger and i am only nine
Brenda M Lathigee More than 1 year ago
This is an inspirational story. I think she has amazing potential and guts to be able to get back up and surf again. I would recommend this book and movie to anyone that was willing to read about this amazing girls story and all the courage she had just to do what made her happy and to live her dream(:
Emma Baird More than 1 year ago
An amazing sotry of a young girl who survives a shark attack but looses her left arm. This book shows that you can truely do anything as long as you put your faith in God.
Cathy Mihalko More than 1 year ago
The tale of an inspiring & Faithfilled young woman! Highly recommend. Great book for teen girls.
Marla Vivino More than 1 year ago
Saw movie reading book next... so pumped to read it!!!!!!
Mary Engelberth More than 1 year ago
It was so cool how she lived from a shark attak it was a awsome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love you too Katie! This is my third review on this book! I am really moved how much everyone believes in me, Thanks, Bethany
Riley Romig More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome.bethany hamilton is a very talented young women:)
STORE NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Great movie and book
Annie MacRae More than 1 year ago
I think beathany is basicly awesome !! She is so inspiring ! I want to cry sometimes. But dont worry happy tears !! Meerting her would mean the world to me !! I think i feel a conection with her because i love to surf ! I have been in the ocean since i was 6 months !!! I love it !