16 May 2023
By now you’ve likely seen the iconic images.
Caymanian professional freediver Coral Tomascik wearing an Inter Miami FC jersey and posing with a football along the ocean’s floor as hammerhead, reef sharks and nurse sharks glide past in dream-like imagery.
The photos have been shared by ESPN, written about by the Daily Mail and tweeted by David Beckham. They were created after hours of training and preparation put in by Tomascik and Caymanian photographer Jason Washington, including at the Camana Bay Sports Complex Pool.
“We have been training in that pool for years,” said Washington, owner of Ambassador Divers and brand ambassador for global scuba and photography brands like PADI, Cressi and Sea & Sea. “That pool is great because of its location. It’s right there next to Camana Bay, it’s close to my house, it’s close to Coral’s house. We don’t have a lot of options here in the Cayman Islands and to be able to train in that pool is pretty epic for us.”
This was the third year Washington and Tomascik teamed up to supply images for Inter Miami CF for the One Planet campaign, a Major League Soccer-wide initiative promoting responsible plastic use. In each image, Tomascik poses underwater while wearing the Inter Miami One Planet jersey, an Adidas jersey made from recycled plastics.
“The response has been incredible,” Washington said. “As an underwater photographer, as an ocean enthusiast, as a marine conservationist, it's important to me for many reasons. First, I simply cannot raise awareness on a level that is anywhere near this on my own. So when you get giant brands like Apple TV, Adidas, Inter Miami, Major League Soccer and David Beckham behind you, I'm able to leverage their celebrity to reach a much, much larger audience to tell the story that we're very, very passionate about telling — we need to take care of our world's oceans.”
Washington said Inter Miami first reached out to him years ago after seeing his underwater photography. The club planned to launch its first Adidas Prime Blue jersey (the former name of the One Planet campaign) and they felt Washington’s work with lionfish culling and ocean conservation made him a good fit.
“They wanted something big and something eye-catching to really launch their first campaign with this jersey,” Washington said. “So they reached out to myself and Coral and the beauty of that was every year they gave us complete creative control to create whatever it was that that we wanted to create.”
Three years on, their creations are turning heads and spreading a message of sustainability to the world.
This article was originally published in the June 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.