The clock’s ticking for vanishing shark species and now is the time to join the race to protect them. It's inspiring to catch up with Finathon Champion and PADI Course Director Katy Bloor. Katy held a super successful Finathon at Sub-Mission Dive Centre, UK where over 70 divers put on their fins in protest against shark finning and swam 100 kilometers to raise funds for Project AWARE’s shark campaign.
Project AWARE (PA): Katy, Tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your background?
I co-own Sub-Mission Dive Centre with my partner, Darren McNamara. My background is little other than diving, having started scuba at 15. I left school, became a PADI Divemaster and never looked back.
PA: How did you first hear about Project AWARE?
I always remember the Project AWARE donation slip on the paper PADI Positive Identification Cards but I really started to get more involved with Project AWARE a couple of years ago after watching a documentary about shark finning. I took it upon myself to organize my own events and Project AWARE is overwhelmingly supportive and inspirational.
PA: Being a diver and course director, why do you feel sharks are such an important issue?
Sharks are an iconic species that demonstrate majesty, power and supremacy rendering me completely inspired by them. Sharks evoke more emotion from the population than most other marine species, regardless of whether that is horror, fear, interest or curiosity; everyone has their own perception of the species. The other reason for my interest is the scale of damage being done to shark populations. If we can decimate such a prolific and archaic species, what hope do other marine creatures have when the sharks have gone?
PA: Your Finathon raised over £4,000. Amazing. Can you tell us how you made it so successful?
Most of the success is due to the hard work of a great team of divers and their friends and family. Their hard work, fundraising and generosity made the event a phenomenal success. I expected about 30 people to take part yet we had over 70 people turn up, keen and eager to participate. We smashed our target distance early and those who turned up later were quite disappointed not to be able to contribute to hitting the target. Fourth Element designed T-shirts for us, which boosted our totals massively and we are very grateful for their support of the event. We also had two Shark presentations in the afternoon at the Dive Centre and a very successful raffle. Above all else, the passion of those involved made a tangible difference.
PA: Have you got any tips for divers planning their first Finathon?
When it comes to the event itself, just have fun! Make it social and the time will fly by! If you don’t shout out for sharks, who will?
PA: What’s happening next in your world?
This year we fundraised through the Tough Mudder Challenge, we're planning another Finathon and I'd love to see as many people as possible swimming to end finning. I encourage dive centre’s around the world to take part, have fun and raise even more money and awareness for the plight of the sharks.
Get Finatical about sharks sign up today! Read about more great events to get inspired:
- Calyspso Diving Philippines Finathon 1500m
- Langley Divers Canada Indoor Pool Event for All
- Dive Downbelow Sabah 3km Gaya Island Swim
- Master Divers Epic Relay Swim Around Koh Tao 23km