Cheri Hamilton is the mother of Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack, and is the subject of the movie Soul Surfer.
Cheri herself grew up in a beach going family in San Diego, and learned to surf in the summer of 1966. In the early 1970s, she moved to Hawaii to fully embrace her passion for surfing and to live a simpler lifestyle. Cheri worked nights at the Kauai Surf Hotel so she could surf during the day, a pursuit she shared with co-worker Tom Hamilton, whom she would eventually marry.
Soon after they were married, Cheri and Tom became Christians through the influence of surfing friends. They taught their three children (sons Noah and Timmy arrived before Bethany) about the love of Jesus and provided them the opportunity to grow in their faith at home and through Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and religious education classes.