Local News

'Soul Surfer,' Raleigh man inspire one another

Posted April 27, 2011 6:33 p.m. EDT

— Logan Aldridge is used to an occasional glance from strangers – he lost his left arm in a boating accident seven years ago – but the release of a new movie has garnered him more attention than ever.

The 20-year-old Raleigh native is mentioned in the movie "Soul Surfer" as one of the people who inspired professional surfer Bethany Hamilton to keep going after she lost her arm in a 2004 shark attack.

Aldridge's friend wrote to Hamilton after his accident and told her about him. She then called Aldridge, who was 13 at the time.

"I remember lying in the hospital bed and getting a call from my brother saying that surfer chick with one arm called the house. It kind of blew my mind," Aldridge said recently. "To hear that and know that someone had reached out to me already was just the most comforting thing to hear. It really inspired me and motivated me to not let this be a huge problem in my life."

Having Hamilton provide such immediate support was the most important factor in his emotional recovery, he said.

"It was just the biggest motivator I could have had at that crucial time of need and support," he said. "I don’t think there could have been any better timing."

After he healed, Hamilton invited him to Hawaii in 2005. There, she taught him how to surf, and he taught her how to wakeboard.

"It was a great experience to be with someone in the same situation as I was, but yet, that's not really how we communicated with one another," he said. "We didn't focus on the fact that we both only have one arm."

Both Hamilton and Aldridge persevered in large part to inspire others.

"You have to face it with the right attitude. You don't want anything to get in the way of you doing what you want to do," Aldridge said.

A positive attitude helped Aldridge become an accomplished lacrosse player at Ravenscroft School, a champion wakeboarder and a motivational speaker. He now is pursuing a business degree at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington.

Aldridge said he was honored to be mentioned in "Soul Surfer," which has received critical praise.

"It was a tearjerker for anyone. It was a great movie," he said. "It reminded me of the stuff I was going through during my accident. It was something I could very much relate to."

He said others will relate to it as well.

"It's a great example of how to overcome an obstacle," he said.