That’s the message of the inspirational film, “Soul Surfer.” Based on the her memoir, 13-year-old Bethany (Anna- Sophia Robb) is a devout Christian before the “Jaws”-type tragedy, which seems to sink any hope of fulfilling her dream of becoming a professional surfer. But, taken on a Thailand retreat to help tsunami victims, one-armed Bethany realizes her role-model purpose when she coaxes a traumatized kid back into the big, bad ocean.
From there, it’s just a few hundred practice-paddles until she gets the hang of hanging-ten again on the “awesome” hometown Hawaiian waves.
She even figures out how to ace out the local “mean girl” in a major surfing competition. Heaps of support come from her loving, though surfer-addicted parents, Tom and Cheri (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt), with theological incentives provided by an evangelical youth counselor (country singer Carrie Underwood).
While the acting in “Soul Surfer” is dead-calm flat, the wave-riding footage is exceptional, with nimble CGI work showing Robb-Bethany doing some spectacular stunts without the once important appendage. The shark attack scene is also frighteningly effective.
Credit should go to Director Sean McNamara for the great surfing cinematography. Credit goes to God for making waves and giving this disabled girl the guts and gumption to go on with her fabulous surfing career.
Bethany Hamilton presently ranks 25th in the Association of Surfing Professionals for women worldwide.
Thank you, Jesus!