Surfing

5 Lessons From The Soul Surfer Movie

Man carrying his surfing board at the seashore

View obstacles as opportunities, as inspirations. There will be setbacks, never settle or give in. No matter how challenging life may get, keep on pushing forward and most importantly, never lose hope. Officially released back in the year 2011, these are some of the few profound messages that Soul Surfer offers to the audience, leaving them in a state of awe and amazement. Directed by Sean McNamara, Soul Surfer is a heart-warming and inspirational film that tells the story of the resilience and determination of Bethany Hamilton.

Soul Surfer is not your average sports come-back movie. Despite a few clichés here and there, Director Sean McNamara does a remarkable job at providing a compelling narrative of Bethany Hamilton’s life story and ends up offering a gripping, unique, powerful and at times, moving account of the life of a surfer for the audience to digest.

Soul Surfer Overview

Woman in wet suit sitting on surfing sofa
Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

Soul Surfer begins by introducing us to a 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton (played by AnnaSophia Robb) who is an aspiring surfer, member of the dawn patrol, looking forward to getting sponsored on a circuit at the next level. With an unmatched ambition, supportive parents (played by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hart) and a promising future in the field of surfing, Bethany Hamilton is all set for a great start.

However, the worst things in life tend to hit us when we least expect it. Bethany Hamilton’s life turns upside down when she is attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark during one of her training sessions. The attack leaves her with severe injuries including the loss of excessive blood as well as her left arm.

Bethany Hamilton ends up losing 60% of her blood, a dangerously high level that could prove to be instantly life-threatening. However, with immediate action by her coach and her will power to remain calm ends up saving her life. The days’ following the attack is where the real story begins.

Despite the setback, Bethany Hamilton embraces this new challenge life throws at her with a determination and strength that is truly inspirational and sort of astonishing for a young teenager. Her composure will power to not give up, absolute focus on her goals and a general mindset of pushing forward no matter what life throws at her puts her on a journey of physical and spiritual recovery. Following the tiger shark attack, Bethany Hamilton makes it her life mission to spread this new-found spiritual message of hers to millions around the world who go through similar conditions in life in the hopes that she might inspire and help a few in the process.

Bethany Hamilton’s story of recovery and spiritual enlightenment is an eye-opener for all. Soul Surfer, therefore, is a movie everyone can relate to, surfers and non-surfers alike. Here are the 5 most important lessons in the Soul Surfer movie that everyone can benefit from.

1. Resilience In The Face Of Adversity

Person standing in water carrying surfboard
Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash

Surfers have a word for a specific type of wave maneuver that they perform out on the water. It’s called Duck dive. Duck dive is basically a maneuver that surfers do to duck and avoid the wave from knocking you down. Bethany Hamilton’s resilience in the days following the attack speaks of the importance of being tough and innovative while trying to overcome the obstacles that life throws in your way. Getting caught up in self-pity and sadness over your situation, you must always choose to rise above and find innovative ways to find solutions within your circumstances.

2. Faith In Yourself

Woman praying beside tree
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In Soul Surfer movie, Bethany Hamilton shark attack leaves her with a severed arm. She has to learn how to surf all over again. Imagine the pain Bethany Hamilton had to go through going from a skilled surfer with a promising future to being an absolute beginner trying to learn how to surf without a left arm. Soul Surfer provides a great lesson of having faith in the moments of your weakness. Bethany Hamilton shark attack may have left her broken and weak, but it did not take away her faith.

Her spiritual beliefs, as well as her faith in herself to overcome her obstacles, outweighed the obstacles in her path. She fought these obstacles with a positive mindset and the belief that she could move forward while using this obstacle as an inspiration to try even harder as opposed to sulking and giving up.

3. Persistency In The Pursuit Of Your Goals

Photo of sea wave bump into boulder
Photo by James Pritchett on Unsplash

Nothing worth having comes easy. Like with anything else in life, surfing is all about being persistent and sometimes even patient as you try and improve with each wave you surf. Soul Surfer portrays this message by showing how Bethany Hamilton continues to go out and practice each day despite the set-back. When her parents (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hart) see her hurting, they offer her comfort, support but most importantly they teach her to continue pursuing her dreams by believing in herself.

She continues her dawn patrols each morning and keeps on pushing forward. And this simple act of bravery does not only put her on the path of recovery, but it also serves as an inspiration to those around the world to do the same.

4. Courage And Absolute Determination

Two male wearing wetsuits holding surfboards
Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash

If there is one lesson that every passionate individual can relate to, it’s that of being courageous and determined regardless of whatever obstacles life throws your way. Bethany Hamilton’s story is all about being courageous and determined in the pursuit of her goals. If you are living a life of purpose, there is a very high chance that you will come across various obstacles as well as opportunities. Choosing how to respond to both will ultimately determine whether you move forward or stay static in life. A lot of people believe that courage is something you are born with. This couldn’t be far from the truth. Courage is more like a muscle that you train and can acquire. It doesn’t matter how many times life hits you, the important thing is to pick yourself back up over and over again no matter how hard it gets.

5. A Community Of Supportive Individuals

People sitting on ground while forming round during daytime
Photo by Kylie Lugo on Unsplash

While self-belief is important when it comes to overcoming tough times, having a community of supportive individuals by your side can be a tremendous advantage. Soul Surfer sends a message of the importance of building your own community of supportive individuals who can inspire and lift you in difficult times. Bethany Hamilton was lucky to have extremely supportive parents and a community of people who believed in her and her struggles. This helped her on her path to recovery.

Almost everyone in this life feels like they have a calling. Bethany Hamilton felt like she was called to surf. From a young age, she started focusing on her goals with absolute determination. Following the attack, she did not forget her purpose in life. She believed she was called to surf and so she kept on pursuing that dream. And having a community of supportive individuals helped her on her journey.

Final Thoughts

Man carrying his surfing board at the seashore
Photo by Blake Hunter on Unsplash

Bethany Hamilton’s life has been an inspiration to millions. Her life story is also the narrative of a documentary called Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable tells the struggle of her life in an objective manner and is worth watching. Soul Surfer provides more of an emotional overview of her life-events that can prove to be more moving.

We hope these lessons from Soul Surfer movie provide you with the motivation or inspiration you might have been looking for. If you haven’t seen Soul Surfer movie yet, you should definitely consider adding it to your list. Surfing can get quite tough at times – you have to be patient, consistent and put in countless hours to reach a professional level. And Soul Surfer goes to show that regardless of life’s struggles, you can succeed with a positive mindset.

Even if you are surfing on some of the best beaches in Mexico, or just on a regular old beach – remember to keep these lessons in your mind. Because regardless of where you surf (whether it is one of the best beaches in Mexico or not), the lessons from Soul Surfer are universal.

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