Shark attack survivor's story becomes a Hollywood film

23/09/11

Bethany Hamilton
Image caption Bethany Hamilton

Shark attack survivor and professional surfer Bethany Hamilton hopes a film about her life will be an 'inspiration' to others.

In 2003, when she was 13, the majority of her left arm was bitten off by a tiger shark while she was surfing off the coast of Hawaii.

Within a month she was back in the water, turning pro in 2007, competing in national competitions.

She's now 21 and the focus of Hollywood movie, Soul Surfer.

She's played by actress AnnaSophia Robb.

Bethany says it's weird seeing someone else playing her. "My mum and I actually suggested her (Robb) for the role. I'm definitely not an actress so I don't think it would have worked out with me playing myself."

The movie recreates the moment Bethany was attacked by a tiger shark. She ended up losing more than 60% of her blood.

Meeting Justin Bieber

"It wasn't hard to watch," she says "But it was very odd. I actually got to do a lot of my own stunt surfing for the film. It's good to show how cool women's surfing is."

In some scenes, the face of AnnaSophia Robb is computer generated onto the face of Bethany. "I guess with technology they can pull off anything," she says.

Since the attack, Bethany has met a host of celebrities including Justin Bieber.

"I met him (Bieber) at the Do Something Awards in the States earlier this year. I was a little bit star-struck. My friend insisted I get a picture with him but I had a mini crush on him. He was really sweet though."

As well as numerous public appearances, Bethany has a reality TV series in the pipeline.

She's also tried the waves in the UK. "I've been to Newquay. It's beautiful there. The only thing that intimidates me is the cold factor."