Mike Gerken: Evolution Underwater Imaging | North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout 2016

North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout 2016

June 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout 2016

Hosted by Mike Gerken & Evolution Underwater Imaging LLC

©2016; All Rights Reserved

Attendees and Olympus crew for the 2016 NC Wreck•Shark Shootout

From left to Right:  Justin Smith, Chris Bronk, Robert Purifoy, Andre Labuda, Seth Moyette, Frankie Womack, Chuck Wingo, Matt Steere, Lucas Koch, Hanz Lehrke, Michelle Peabody, Mike Gerken, Nicoile Travis, Will Strickland, Barry Gregg, Tyler Mahler, John Palmer, Tim Fischetti, Annette Papa, En-Min Chua, Dawn Birmingham, David Alpert, Julian Hogan, Bob Birmingham, Gavin Volmer, Juergen Scharner; Not Shown: Scott Stitt, Ian Ford, Stuart Gibbons, Dale Rhoton and Stuart Vernon

     Holy White Shark! That is exactly what we saw at this years shootout. Due to strong currents offshore we were relegated to diving the inshore wrecks of the Indra and the new tugs. Nancey Cost, one of the participants, requested I have a look at her cameras screen to help her identify a shark she saw and photo'd. Thinking it was maybe a bull shark or a sand tiger I took a look with the usual interest. Low and behold she shows me a photo of a 8-10' Great White Shark! My jaw dropped to my knees. This was indeed a rare sighting. Fortunately for her, others saw it as well to confirm the sighting. What a rush to see a rare and majestic great white only 8 miles from shore in only 60 feet of water! And this was how we started our NC Wreck•Shark Shootout for 2016. What a rush.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE Great White Shark Spotted and photographed by Nancey Cost on the Tramp and JJF Tugs 8 miles from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

     This years shootout was attended by 30 excited shark hunters using an assortment of cameras from the arsenal. Nikon and Canon SLR's, SeaLife and GoPro point and shoots to name a few. By the end of the third day the gang took some handsome images of sharks and the wrecks that they inhabit off the North Carolina Coast. Mother nature did create a few obstacles to deal with such as strong currents offshore, a passing tropical depression and a dive or two with less than desirable visibility (but oodles of Sand Tigers).

     At the awards dinner, catered by Floyd's 1921 restaurant, I was more than happy to give out some amazing prizes to the winners of the competition judged by photo journalist Scott Johnson. I handed out liveaboard trips, land based excursions, dive gear, photo equipment and plenty of swag. (See full list of prizes here.) The only real negative of the trip was the winds picked up on the last day of the shootout and we had to cancel the diving. I couldn't complain too much for we did get out for 3 out of the 4 days and managed to see a nice variety of sharks on 4 different wreck sights.

     The two days previous to the shootout (the recon dives) we had 80-100' vis on Papoose with plenty of sand tigers, sand bars, groupers, giant southern stingrays and so much more. The Atlas Tanker the next day was nothing to shrug off either. 50-80' vis with amazing sand tigers and more of the bountiful marine life that makes North Carolina diving so famous. These dives are the pinnacle of what NC diving has to offer. 

     Without a doubt, plans for next years shootout are already in the works. I will be making an announcement on Facebook, Twitter and my personal newsletter within a few weeks and will be accepting deposits immediately. This shootout continues to grow in popularity and that is mostly due to the awesome sponsors and the great people that attend. Having such people to share my love of diving, sharks and wrecks is a highlight of my year. Thank you to all!

Video Highlights 2016

    And the winners of the 3rd Annual North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout 2016 at Olympus Dive Center are:

Grand Prize Winner

Best in Show - David Alpert

Truk Odyssey Liveaboard Trip

Sand Tiger Shark


Best Shark Photo

First Place Winner - Juergen Scharner

Sam's Tours/Unique Dive Expeditions Dive/Hotel Package

Sand Tiger on the Atlas Tanker


2nd Place Winner - Stuart Gibbons

Sea & Sea YS-D2 Strobe

Sand Tiger Shark on the Atlas Tanker


3rd Place Winner - Andre Labuda

Big Blue Underwater Light System

Sand Tiger Shark


Best Wreck Photo Category

First Place Winner - Stuart Gibbons

Caribbean Explorer II Liveaboard Trip

Sand Tiger Shark and diver on the USCGC Spar


2nd Place Winner - Scott Stitt

Olympus Dive Center Dive/Lodge Package

Sand Tiger inside Club Aeolus



3rd Place Winner - John Palmer

Wreck Diving Magazine 1 yr subscription + T-Shirt + OMS SMB and Thumb Spool

Key Hole of the Aeolus


Best Video Short Edited

First Place Winner - Frankie Womack

Utila Dive Center Hotel/Dive Package


2nd Place Winner - Andre Labuda

Dive Aventuras Dive Package



3rd Place Winner - En-Min Chua

Hollis Mask + OMS SMB and Thumb Spool



Best Video Short Unedited

First Place Winner - Andre Labuda

Sea Life Micro 2.0 Camera



2nd Place Winner - Barry Gregg

Tusa Mask, Fins & Snorkel


3rd Place Winner - Juergen Scharner

Backscatter $100 Gift Certificates


Best Point & Shoot Photo


First Place Winner - Bob Birmingham

Scubapro MK21 Regulator

Diver and Sand Tiger Shark


2nd Place Winner - Juergen Scharner

Sherwood Blizzard Regulator

Sand Tiger on the Atlas Tanker


3rd Place Winner - Barry Gregg

Wreck Diving Magazine 1 Yr subscription + T-Shirt

Sand Tiger Shark inside the Aeolus 


Best Vivid-Pix Fix

Winner - Nicole Travis

Vivid-Pix Editing Software


     I wanted to quickly list all the sponsors here for the event. Without them, I could not put this together. Sam's Tours and Unique Diving Expeditions in PalauSea & Sea Photo, Karen Doody's Dive Aventuras, Scubapro, Sherwood, Hampton Dive CenterBackscatter, Wreck Diving Magazine, Vivid-PixSea-Life Cameras, Explorer Ventures Liveaboards, Utila Dive Center and of course Olympus Dive Center. Your support has made this event a memorable event. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Thank You Sponsors

Truk Odyssey Liveaboard

Explorer Ventures Liveaboards

Sam's Tours/Unique Dive Expeditions


Olympus Dive Center

Unique Dive Exped.


Sea & Sea; Tusa

SeaLife Cameras


Hampton Dive Center

Wreck Diving Mag

Backscatter Photo

Utila Dive Center

Dive Aventuras


See you all next year Wreck Shark Lovers! 


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