Bethany Hamilton talks Dolphin Tale 2

There are many things GL hearts about Bethany Hamilton. There’s her perseverance, her stellar surfing skills, and the fact that this pro athlete, who lost her arm to a shark when she was just 13 years old, is always up for a challenge—the latter of which you are about to see unfold on the big screen.

I was lucky enough to head to the real life Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida last December to check out some filming for Warner Bros.’s new Dolphin Tale 2 and the first person I got to chat with was none other than Bethany herself.

The sequel to the 2011 hit Dolphin Tale movie continues the journey of prosthetic-tailed Winter and new addition Hope, another rescue dolphin. And while it reunites members of the original cast, expect to see some fresh faces, like Bethany Hamilton playing her best role: Herself.

It only makes sense that a flick that celebrates differences and defeating the odds would include such an inspirational individual.

“Our stories are similar in a sense that both are about hope and inspiration,” Bethany told me about the biggest thing that drew her to her latest gig.

What else did she have to say about playing herself for the cameras and working with the real dolphins the films are based on? Read on to find out!

She’s an animal lover, so filming was a no-brainer. “I have three dogs and I’ve always had an infatuation with ocean animals. Since I’m a surfer, I spend so much time in the ocean and like to give back to the sea world and this is a good movie educating people on ocean [life] and the hazards out there.”

She didn’t take any acting lessons. “My role has been just coming alongside Clearwater Marine Aquarium and celebrating what they’re doing. Since I’m just playing me, it’s not too much acting, but I was a little nervous [at first]. I’ve had time in front of cameras and did stunt surfing for Soul Surfer but I’m not an actress. Luckily they shoot every scene like 20 times so I have a little leeway to make up for any mistakes.


The cast and crew are as awesome as you’d think. “Everyone is really sweet,” Bethany said of the relaxed vibe. “I adore Cozi [Zuehlsdorff] and Nathan [Gamble]. What really inspired me was the coming together of people and the unity and friendship that everyone is putting in here at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It’s cool that a lot of people in the movie are actually people who invest their lives in here.”

Dolphin Tale 2 was her first time swimming with dolphins. “I’ve been close to them. I remember when I was little we would go to this place in Hawaii and the dolphins would come swim in big pods and we would go on surfboards into the deep blue,” Bethany said. “But I’ve never gotten close enough to touch them, so swimming with Winter and Hope was amazing.”

There were some diva moments. “Winter is trained and she’s definitely really nice to be around, but sometimes we would get all the cameras ready to go, we’d be ready to [film], and then Winter would just go off and do her own thing. It’s funny because you have to be patient—she’s an animal. But one of my favorite scenes is when Nathan and I get to swim in the water with Winter and do all these tricks.” 

Be sure to catch Bethany on the big screen when Dolphin Tale 2 hits theaters Sept. 12.

Are you pumped for this movie? Do you heart Bethany Hamilton as much as we do? Share in the comments below.


by Patricia McNamara | 2/1/2016
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