A frogwoman in black rubber in a shark documentary from 1971

I stumbled upon a very new documentary “Playing with sharks: The Valerie Taylor story” about the (very remarkable) life of Valerie Taylor.

Until then I haven’t heard about her…but that knowledge gap could be closed 😉

That documentary is well worth a watch, I highly wanna recommend it!

But this post is actually (mostly) about another documentary….a documentary that is mentioned several times in “Playing with sharks”.


A documentary from 1971, with sharks…and Valerie Taylor in black rubber for most time underwater!

The film crew is on the hunt for a great white shark as they wanna film him underwater as he is feeding….something that was never done before (before 1971)!

For you folks I made a highlight cut with my favorite scenes 😉


(click to enlarge)

Here is the video:

Watch the video before you continue!

There are a lot more scenes of her in that rubber suit, but then the video would get way too long 😉

Some years earlier she might also have used a double hose regulator, but those were already on the retreat since the mid-’60s.  🙁

But I really love her suit…for me, it can’t get much better than such a black rubber wetsuit!

And did you realize that fish did bite in her air hose at around 2:38???!


That fish was just curious…luckily for her, that bite wasn’t strong enough to puncture her only air hose.

Of course, even that wouldn’t have been a problem for her as she is a very skilled diver and help would have been nearby.

But still, I really like that scene! I wonder what would have happened if she had had a corrugated air hose…. as these are way easier to damage/puncture.


The documentary itself….is very problematic….from today’s point of view.

The research on sharks was only at the beginning and it shows big time. This documentary was watched all around the world and I think it’s safe to say that it played an important role in the development of Spielberg’s blockbuster “Jaws”.

Taylor did actually film some shots for it some years later with her husband.

I still really love that movie, even I know it’s fantasy and that sharks don’t behave like that.

For the sharks that movie was surely catastrophic in many ways.

In the new documentary “Playing with sharks” that I mentioned earlier….Valerie Taylor reflects a lot on how her attitude towards sharks and sea life in general has changed over the years.

So, I can recommend to watch both documentaries as you then get the whole “picture”, even you should have a strong stomach for watching the old documentary as there is a lot of cruelty vs aninmals….especially whales….in it.

Here is a picture of the new documentary:

Also….a lot of interesting scuba gear from the ’50s onwards…in this one.

Wanna know the title of this documentary?


9 thoughts on “A frogwoman in black rubber in a shark documentary from 1971”

  1. Amazing footage for so many reasons. A lady in her very sexy vintage dive gear , and divers actually outnumbered by oceanic white tip sharks. Two things you really don’t see much of these days.
    Although this documentary was cruel and dated re whales being slaughtered ( let’s not mention they filmed it in Apartheid South Africa) Valerie is a lady who has always admitted that she wasn’t perfect and a lot of her earlier views were wrong.
    That said her documentary’s did a lot to portray sharks in a positive light( she was the first person to get Raghu tooth sharks protected status) her documentary’s were always fascinating to watch when I was a kid and they never had the macho bull and dramatic music you still see on the shark week documentary’s today.
    Valerie and her husband were the inspiration that made me want to become a diver ( that and the fetish) but it’s really 50/50.
    You say have never heard of this woman but I know you have seen her before.
    Your very nice underwater clip of Charlotte Rampling in the 79 movie Orca Killer Whale is actually her stunt double, Valerie Taylor, that’s why she’s wearing that sexy black hood , to hide Val’s blond hair
    ( Charlotte is a brunette ) but other than the hood does any of ms Rampling’s dive gear look familiar to you in the BWWD clip?
    Sexy as she looks in all her gear, I have a lot of respect for Val , she came from a very working class background at a time when women really didn’t get to go on adventures and do traditional male roles , she and she paved the way and had an amazing life ( she also made a lot of her own wetsuits) and made a lot of discoveries about sharks that even the experts didn’t know.
    She’s in het 80’s now and still diving!
    She did a dive with Chris Hemsworth ( Thor ) this year.
    Right it’s obvious I have a little bit of a school boy crush on this lady so I will stop ranting now.
    But thanks for the clip she looked amazing .

    • Wow, that’s quite a comment!
      Well, perhaps I heard her name before….but if yes, I couldn’t remember.
      Good to know that she was in Orca. Yeah, definitely remember THAT appearance!
      One of the very rare moments to see a woman in a full rubber wetsuit, in color…in a movie 🙂

      • She also played the the stunt double for Matt Hooper in some of the cage dive scenes.
        The majority were done by a jockey called Carl but once the had the film in the editing suit they realised they needed a few shots of hooper in the cage from behind, Richard Dryfuss was not available at this point as he was acting his next film, Val was With Spielberg at the time advising. And they asked her if she would stand in as she was an experienced diver. They figured one divers head in a hood from behind looks much like another and the needed the shot quickly in post production.

  2. Val Taylor often wears red or orange wetsuits. Here is an episode of the australian TV-Series “Skippy” with her (sorry, only poor quality):

    • Fantastic clip! Love the one piece wetsuit, it fits her extremely well, that is one lucky lad. I don’t know if my young teenage self would have been as much of a gentleman in that situation, when she was lying there unconscious you could tell that Val really fills that wetsuit if you know what I mean.


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