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Great White Shark Legend: The Interview, Part 3



Jeff Goodman interviews Ricardo and Rachel Lacombe about their film, Great White Shark Legend

Great White Shark Legend is a well thought out and developed film. It is sensitively filmed and directed as well as being very informative and revelatory in both hard facts as well as emotional content. I talked with Ricardo and Rachel Lacombe about its making.

Rachel Lacombe

Ricardo Lacombe










Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Part 3

Jeff: I was very happy to see that you had stayed away from the sensationalist blood and guts shots that often go with Great White Shark films. What was your reasoning?

Rachel: Well firstly….we didn’t have many! You don’t really see the blood and guts. If a seal is being eaten you do get some of that, but not much and it’s not regular. You know some TV crews will have to charter a boat for several months to get those shots! You do see some of the aftermath but genuinely being in False Bay, the prime hunting ground in the entire world for observing great whites you see a lot of chasing and splashing but it’s not a gore fest out there. It’s another one of those huge media misconceptions and sensationalist lies about Great Whites. We could make a film about dogs eating bones and portray them as rabid killers if so desired. That’s what many of your newspapers and shark shows have done for far too long now and that’s why what we are telling here is a story that some just don’t want to hear.

Jeff: Did you have to fight any prejudices against sharks while shooting as well as editing the film?

Rachel: Absolutely! That started while Ricardo was looking for backers. We had a lot of interest just from the title and pitch poster from several surfing and diving companies, as in surf equipment, scuba equipment. Many got really excited and were all over it until they realised that the objection to cage diving in the area from surfers in particular would cause them backlash. Lots offered equipment and finance and lots then retracted when they realised we were making a pro cage diving film.

Ricardo: This is why we really wanted people like Brandon Kilbride in the film because he was a surfer, diver and life saver but also worked on shark boats and was pro cage diving. He and Gary Carstens were a bridge between the two worlds which can often be poles apart. I was asked by one of the scuba gear companies who pulled out why we were not featuring a more balanced view of cage diving with arguments from both sides. I told them that the anti-cage diving voice had been heard for so long that I wanted to portray a positive side to it. If anyone wants to make an anti-cage diving film, go ahead!

Jeff: Now the film is completed, where are you trying to get it shown?

Ricardo: We’ve already had it shown internationally. We premiered at the 40 Fathoms Film Festival in South Africa, which felt like a great home for a launch, and since then we have done the festival circuits and been in several festivals in US, Japan, UK and France. We made the decision at a point to bring it to Video On Demand and get it out there online rather than more traditional sales routes.

Rachel: We were honoured to get some coverage on BBC (you can find the clip on YouTube or Vimeo) where we were interviewed about the film and we got such an amazing response to that. There was a real pride knowing you are live to a few million on prime time BBC TV talking about how the media has portrayed sharks so badly. To get that message out to that broad an audience was extremely satisfying and was a great step in the message we were shouting about in the film. You couldn’t buy that kind of publicity to be honest.

Jeff: Have you got another film project up your sleeves or was this the one and only?

Ricardo: Oh it never stops! Since this film we’ve worked on pieces of a vastly different nature, including more recently a piece about baby wearing and baby carrying. When this film was finished I had a lot of interest in what we were making next…would it be more sharks, more wildlife, dinosaurs! I think becoming parents for the second time meant we had to plan passion projects more local as making a film can take years. I’ve done more corporate commissions of course but that’s not sharks right? I have a plan in motion to look at a documentary about farming next and then maybe after that a return to our Great White Sharks. I would love to follow up on the story of children and underprivileged communities in South Africa who live on the doorstep of the ocean and yet have never even been out to sea. ASEC and Shark Spotters do some great work in taking people form the poorer communities out there onto the boat to show them the wildlife and sharks that they share the ocean with. That’s a story I’m itching to tell and we could also incorporate taking our two sons out for the first time too!

Jeff: Is there any advice you would give to anyone thinking of creating their own film adventure?

Rachel: Preparation is everything. You need to tell a story, not just go and make something. What’s the story? What’s the angle? What’s the heart of it? If you don’t have that then go and lock yourself in a room and do that first. Then come back out all cameras blazing. No matter how dazzling whatever you are pointing those cameras at, there needs to be something behind it because that’s where the emotional connection comes in. We didn’t make a film about sharks. We made a film about sharks and people.

Ricardo: There’s a line in an Indiana Jones movie as Harrsion Ford is telling the students how 90% of archaeology is done in the classroom and library. Same thing. For this film, three weeks of incredible shooting on location in South Africa meant two years of preparation and planning, and another year of editing and post production. Be prepared for a long haul but that said… go for it! Do it! Grab any camera you have and go make that film. Don’t be intimated by camera snobs, film school graduates talking tech and film makers’ egos. Just plan it, write it, and shoot it. If the story is there in the first place it will shine through once you laid the foundations.

Jeff: How can people get to see your film?

Ricardo: We’ve had the film online now for download or streaming and had some amazing feedback from it since we did so. You can visit the website at or our Facebook page (just search Great White Shark Legend on FB), where you will find a Buy / Rent tab which will link you to the Vimeo On Demand page.

(Direct link to the Vimeo On Demand page is here.)

Since trying to embrace the new world of digital distribution however we have still been bombarded with comments and requests for a physical hard copy version! People still want that format so we decided to start work on a Special Edition for DVD and Blu Ray. We always said this had to offer more than what was already available because that would not be fair to those who have already paid to see it. So we are in the process of putting that together. Wanted it out last year but babies take priority! So definitely this year. We have just recorded a couple of audio commentary tracks for it and are in the process of putting some of those weeks of shark footage that got cut into some bonus features. We also have a whole section of life on a shark boat from the head mounted camera one of the crew had on. Seeing people working on the ocean is really fascinating! So keep your eyes on the website and Facebook page for news on that physical release and the hours of ocean loving extras!

Jeff: Ricardo, Rachel, it has been a pleasure talking with you. I loved the film and I wish you great success with it. One last question. Did you have fun?

Rachel: Absolutely! It was an amazing experience. But the whole thing was not fun. It was work. It was definitely very hard work. Having to film for a day out at sea from before sunrise, and by midnight you are still cleaning camera equipment, checking footage back, charging batteries, eating if you have time and trying to sleep but still buzzing from the sights you have seen that day, and then repeating that again every day for several weeks. So in the moment you are so focused on making this thing the best it can be it’s not like being on a diving holiday. I’m so proud that we got to spread a new message for Great Whites though. The aftermath of the film so far has been beyond fun!

Ricardo: Especially as an indie crew where you are on tight time and tight budgets, you have to put twice as much graft in. Taking stock of it in the moment was challenging, so looking back on the production we did get to see things that some people never get to see in their lives… and we got to see it every single day. Think about it for a second: a couple of shark enthusiasts who went on holiday and several years later ended up spending a close relationship with Rob Lawrence, one of the greatest and most experienced Great White experts out there. What a privilege for us personally and also to know we have made something that many have seen and many have yet to discover that shows a side to Great Whites they have probably not seen before. An honour, a privilege, and yes….immense fun!

Haven’t seen Great White Shark Legend yet? You can buy or rent it at

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Jeff is an award winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.


Mares & SSI launch new promotion



SSI expands financial support to SSI Members worldwide. 

2020 has been an unusual and challenging year for the entire world, especially the diving and travel industry!  To weather the crisis, SSI immediately jumped into action to help Training Centers and Professionals around the world.  

In response to COVID-19, SSI launched the No Water, No Problem Campaign, put Final Exams online, and held hundreds of Webinars to train Professionals on how to use distance learning to teach the dry Specialties online. The FREE SCIENCE OF DIVING promotion resulted in SSI Training Centers worldwide register over 50,000 FREE DIGITAL KITS, funding more than $3.5 MILLION IN RETAIL VALUE. Additionally, SSI introduced an aggressive DOUBLE PRO REWARDS incentive to help SSI Professionals compensate 2020 Renewal Fees and reduce those for 2021. Currently, the WE WANT YOU Crossover promotion aims to fill the industry need for instructors and strengthen the entire SSI Professional community.

Now, in conjunction with Mares, SSI is launching the GO DIVING – PROTECT YOURSELF. OWN EQUIPMENT Promotion, which includes a FREE SSI EQUIPMENT TECHNIQUES DIGITAL KIT. This new campaign strives to motivate divers worldwide to go diving and buy equipment. Look for more information on this next retail support campaign within the next few days.

“These are just a few examples of how we have supported and are continuing to support our Training Centers, Professionals, and divers worldwide. To provide even more economic security and help in business recovery, WE WILL NOT INCREASE PRICES FOR 2021. While travel was restricted and some key resort areas completely locked down, SSI mainly focused on supporting domestic markets with retail-driven incentives. Now, in this next re-opening phase, we need to shift gear and assist resort markets that have no local diving community and are 100% dependent on the traveling diver. Therefore, SSI will grant certain special conditions and delayed payment options to specific resort markets which have been locked down for longer than six months or suffered from closed borders,” stated Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO.

Guido Waetzig, SSI CEO, explains further, “To financially support these needed investments which directly benefit SSI Members and to protect the health of our valuable members and staff, we will forego all 2021 Trade Shows over the next 12 months. Despite international uncertainty, every time we experience one of these events, the entire SSI Network emerges stronger and more resilient. Be assured, SSI is your trustful partner within the Diving Industry!”

For more information about SSI visit their website by clicking here.

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Photo Gallery: Shark Diving in The Bahamas



In our Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editor Nick and Deputy Editor Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This time they look at Shark Diving in The Bahamas.

The Bahamas offers some of the very finest shark diving experiences in the world. The islands have protected sharks in their waters creating one of the first Shark Sanctuaries in the world. Several species of shark can be seen and photographed, with each island offering a different type of shark diving, making this destination the perfect place for a multi-island, multi-shark trip of a lifetime.

Great Hammerhead Shark diving in Bimini

Bull Sharks in Bimini

Tiger Shark off Grand Bahama

Oceanic Whitetip Shark off Cat Island

Nurse Shark off Abaco

Caribbean Reef Sharks off New Providence

Lemon Sharks off Grand Bahama

For more images from The Bahamas and around the world, visit the Frogfish Photography website by clicking here.

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