We received this heartfelt letter from Karen Tickner this afternoon:
Dear Beloved Shark Biters,
As you know, the Shark Bite Challenge celebrated it’s 15th Anniversary this last April. We have been honored to have hosted you for the last decade and a half. However, we deeply regret to inform you, that it was the last Shark Bite Challenge. Sadly, it has run its course, and the event will no longer continue.
Sixteen years ago, Rob Mirlenbrink, Mike Moran, and myself sat around a table at the after party of the Bogey & Bacall Classic in Key Largo, and dreamed of a “new race concept”. It would include all paddle crafts and welcome paddlers of all levels. Our dream event would embrace the spirit of paddling, and bring the Paddlesport community together. Furthermore, it would have a cool name, one that turned heads, something that people would not forget. We can honestly say that we accomplished all of those things with the Shark Bite Challenge. We are proud and humbled to know that the Shark Bite has led many paddlers to the water, has instigated new friendships, has pushed paddlers’ limits, and encouraged growth in our paddling community.
The decision to end the Shark Bite run was not made lightly. Unlike most races, the event is not associated with a store or industry, but, rather, made up of a group of local paddlers who have a vision of an event for their community. As the event has grown (in amazing numbers), the work required in planning the Shark Bite has also grown. The event has created a life of its own, and requires a massive amount of year-round passion and sacrifice to keep moving forward. What was once a labor of love is now more labor than love. Unfortunately, the effort required is beyond what we can joyously continue to provide, and, thus the event must come to an end.
Before making this announcement, we have considered all other avenues besides ending the Shark Bite, but nothing was able to be worked out. Our sincere apologies, as we know you loved the event. Though change is difficult, change in life is constant. We have faith that another new and wonderful event will come along that will hopefully bring you the same amount of happiness that Shark Bite has done.
As the race organizer, I am humbly grateful to everyone who has believed in and supported the dream of Shark Bite, whether it be through participation, sponsorship, moral support, cooking, beer drinking, or just a good listening ear. Every one of all of you Biters mean so much to me, and I’m blessed knowing that the Shark Bite has been a part of your lives.
Thank you, Biters, for the wonderful memories. I will cherish them forever.
With much love and aloha,
SBC Organizer, 2003-2018
THANK YOU, YOU WILL BE MISSED
This is one of those events that we truly enjoyed, run by paddlers for paddlers. You could tell each and every year how passionate the organizers and volunteers were about paddling and our community. Sharkbite, Karen, Rob and Mike, your race will truly be missed.