Soon you’ll be able to drop $5k on ‘The Great Shark Race’, sponsoring your very own shark in the race of a lifetime. But this gambling opportunity of a lifetime is fit for neither a traditional racing enthusiast, nor your run-of-the-mill gambling addict.
Dr. Guy Harvey’s foundation has teamed up with Nova Southeastern University in a project to track sharks as they navigate our global waters, and the shark that swims the furthest (in each division) over the course of six months will be declared the winner. If your shark wins you get a fishing trip for two to Guy Harvey’s Islander Resort in Islamorada (in the Florida Keys).
As you can see above, if you have five grand laying around you can bid on Makos, Tiger Sharks, Oceanic White Tip Sharks, Sand Tigers, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, and White Marlin. Initially I thought the smart money would be on Blue Marlin/White Marlin and/or Makos, but then I realized that the winners are category specific, so seven winners for seven species. Now, the smart betting strategy are to choose a shark in waters most conducive to traveling long distances, and are unencumbered by surrounding lands and currents.
All of these species are pelagics, meaning they inhabit the open sea. But some (like those in the Bahamas) are surrounded by land and are more likely to stay within the confines of their own waters. If and when I get my bet in I’m going for either a Northern Atlantic Mako, because it has the entire Atlantic Ocean to swim, or the Western Atlantic Sailfish, who travels the entire east coast depending on the season (currently they’re mostly holed up between Ft. Lauderdale and Key West).
The action is already heating up as you can see in the map below which has tracked the movement of already sponsored sharks:
The Great Shark Race, which starts in April, breaks down into two divisions — the Mako Shark Division and the Oceanic Whitetip Division — and is monitored via satellite.
Businesses or people can sponsor a shark by purchasing a satellite tracking tag and then follow the race via Nova’s tracking website. The entry fee is a bit steep — $5,000 — but the winner gets a Florida Keys fishing vacation and bragging rights for having the fastest shark in all the land!
The real winner, though, are the sharks themselves. Scientists at Nova and Guy Harvey will be able to monitor the sharks through the purchased tags to help them with research and movement patterns.
“We began this event a few years ago and the big focus was on tiger sharks, and have since moved on to makos and oceanic whitetips,” Antonio Fins, executive director at the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, tells New Times. “But some studies have shown that the oceanic whitetip population could be down 98 percent. This race is a way to get people involved and tag more sharks, which will provide invaluable in data for us.”
The data Nova and Guy Harvey are looking to get will give them more in-depth information on the sharks’ movement patterns to better manage and conserve them.
“We want to have some fun but even more importantly use the race to bring added awareness to the plight of these magnificent animals,” said Mahmood Shivji, PhD, professor at NSU’s Oceanographic Center and the director of GHRI. “It’s vital that we learn the migratory patterns and other aspects of these animals’ lives so we can ensure they survive and thrive for years to come.”
The shark in each division that ends up traveling the farthest in the next six months will be declared the winner. The winners will be given a free trip to the Islander Resort in Islamorada. You can visit here if you’re interested in getting in on the shark racing action.
If you (or your employer) wants to get in on the hot action, you can check out Nova Southeastern’s site HERE. And if there’s any interest in getting together a ‘GoFundMe’ for this where we can all throw down on a BroBible shark, comment below on whether or not you’re willing to get in on the action and I’ll set it up!
Tip of the hat to Rachel Kolb at UPROXX for finding and sharing this story!