The cast of a documentary being filmed in dive destinations such as the Bahamas and Cozumel is as inspiring as the underwater scenery. Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles, pro surfer Taylor Knox, and Bethany Hamilton — a pro surfer who lost her arm during a shark attack — are just a few of those being featured in The Current, a documentary that spotlights people with disabilities in adventurous settings alongside athlete ambassadors. The message? That the ocean world is accessible to us all.
“When you take able-bodied people and put them in the water too, it’s an equalizer,” says the film’s producer and director, Kurt Miller. For Mallory Weggemann, who became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 18, the film’s shooting in Bimini was her first time diving since her injury. “My dad, sister and I dived together growing up,” she said. “Getting back in the water wasn’t very different. That’s the glory of water: You’re free.”
Jean-Michel Cousteau, who narrates the film, says he hopes The Current will reach young people. “We need ambassadors to tell the world and our decision makers that we need to take care of our life-support system [the oceans],” he said.
Off the coast of Bimini in early April, four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin found herself fin to fin with a pod of about five spotted Atlantic dolphins. She was free-diving alongside swimmer Mallory Weggemann, a gold medalist from the 2013 London Paralympics who was also in the Bahamas to film The Current.
“It’s exhausting!” said Franklin of her cetacean swim mates. “You’re going up and down, and holding your breath, trying to keep up with them. That was a workout in itself.”
For Franklin, childhood trips and her dad’s passion for diving nurtured her lifelong love of the ocean. “I was snorkeling in Maui when I was 2-and-a-half, and my parents would have to come after me,” she said. “I’d see a pretty fish and take off.”
With her nonstop training schedule and freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley, kicking off this fall, the 18-year-old admits that it’s going to be hard to find time to dive.
“But the best thing is, I have this now,” she says. “I’m certified. So if the opportunity arises, I can always take it.”