Soul Surfer is a movie that was released this spring and is now playing based on the inspirational true story of teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton. Bethany has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of faith, determination, and hope. Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of thirteen, on October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm. After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Lifeguards and doctors believe her strong water sense and faith in God helped get her through the traumatic ordeal.
Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. Just over a year after the attack she took 1st place in the Explorer Women’s division of the 2005 NSSA National Championships – winning her first National Title. In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro.
It’s hard to remain uninspired by such strength and courage, especially in someone so young. But Bethany is not only an amazing athlete and water warrior. She also has a very soft spot in her heart for her Shar-Pei, Hana, who played the role of Ginger in Soul Surfer.
The Shar Pei were originally bred as palace guards in China. This breed continues to be very protective of its home, a powerful dog that is willing to guard its family members. Nevertheless, the Shar Pei is not only a guard dog but is extremely devoted, loyal and affectionate to its family. As recently as 1978 Shar-Pei were named the world’s rarest dog breed, and the American Kennel Club did not recognize the breed until 1991. In spite of this, the dog, with its distinctive deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue remains one of the most recognizable breeds around.