Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Rene de Dios, JD Hammer, Shannon Bustamente
Robert Requejo Ramos
Pedro Gomez, Robert Requejo Ramos
104 Mins.

 "South Beach Shark Club" Set for DOC NYC  

The odds are fairly strong that you don't know the stories of Rene de Dios, Shannon "Seaweed Jr." Bustamente, and JD "Jimbo" Hammer, though these legends come to life in the extraordinarily engaging South Beach Shark Club: Legends and Lore of the South Florida Shark Hunters. Set for its New York premiere at DOC NYC and fresh off its Best Documentary win at the Miami Film Festival, South Beach Shark Club captures a culture that existed in the years before Miami's reputation as a glamorous party hub for the rich, elite, and beautiful. 

It was the 1970's. Miami was a much sleepier town,  a time and place inhabited by surfers and skaters, a diverse culture of young Cuban immigrants, a vibrant Jewish population, and other communities that formed a unique mosaic exclusive to the region. It was into this world that a group of teenage outcasts began trying to one-up each other in an ongoing quest for the next big catch. Rene de Dios, JD "Jimbo" Hammer, and Shannon "Seaweed Jr." Bustamante paddled into the deep ocean, with bloody bait in tow, and became local legends by luring the area's greatest prey - the shark. 

South Beach Shark Club exists both then and now, remembering with affection and spirit the past while also capturing these still captivating rogues as they guide a new generation into the world of sustainable sport fishing. 

There are a myriad of reasons to enjoy South Beach Shark Club.

There's the iconic characters practically tailor-made for the big screen. 

There's absolutely entertaining archival footage that simply can't be beat. 

Oh, and yeah, there's the shark footage that rivals anything found on Shark Week or Jaws 1, 2, 3, or 4. Plus, hey, there's no mechanical shark to be found anywhere. 

Once in a while, a filmmaker discovers a story that's simply so wonderful that you can't believe it's never been told before. Such is the case with South Beach Shark Club, a story that deserved to be told and a story that is finally being told thanks to Robert Requejo Ramos, Pedro Gomez, and others who discovered this absolute gem and have brought it to life in ways that engage, entertain, and even inspire. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic