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The world’s waters act as a magnet for people seeking happiness and relaxation. Spending time near, in, on, or even under water is a natural way to recharge and improve our sense of wellbeing. The sea also attracts adventurous spirits such as divers and surfers like Fred Farrell, who has been a "waterman" all his life. And people like Mike Coots — a GoPro Hero Award winner who gets up close and personal with sharks! 


United With The Ocean Hero

Life in Hawaii revolves around the ocean, the tides, and the island’s white-sand beaches

Hawaii-born Mike Coots was five years old when he caught his first wave on a bully board. A passionate surfer ever since, Coots feels more at home on and in the water than anywhere else. If he’s not riding waves, you’ll find Mike exploring the seafloor with a camera in hand, taking photos of sharks.

Fred Farrel did not grow up in Hawaii but has lived on the island his whole adult life, enthusiastic about the ocean and surfing. Over the years, Fred has become something of an expert on Kaneohe Bay and its 79 patch reefs. At over 90 years old, he still goes to the ocean almost daily, whether it is swimming, diving, body boarding, or doing shallow water reef photography.

Life Long Love
Mike Coots, surfer, photographer, shark attack survivor — and shark advocate— fell in love with the ocean when he was 5 years old.

Watch the video here

From shark attack survivor to shark advocate 

When asked to describe the ocean in three words, Mike says: “my entire life”. There’s more to Mike’s story than his passion for the ocean and its most-feared inhabitants. He was attacked by a tiger shark while bodyboarding off the coast of Kauai when he was 18, losing his right leg. Most would avoid the ocean and renounce sharks as monsters. Mike Coots? He went back into the water — and made it his life’s mission to protect sharks.  
There is a whole other world beneath the water’s surface and many of us are not aware of the complexities of underwater marine ecosystems. Mike highlights sharks’ crucial role in the health of the marine environment through vivid storytelling and photography.  

There is something about being around bodies of water that makes us feel well: more vital, happier, clear-headed.
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Mike and Fred explore these waters as often as they can. By the looks of it, it's completely understandable. 

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In addition to the reefs, sharks may also end up in their photos.

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Who cares about a little rain when you're below the surface of the ocean.  

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While looking over an ocean landscape, you'll always notice something new. 

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Crossing off adventure after adventure. 

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Mike and Fred explore these waters as often as they can. By the looks of it, it's completely understandable. 

Imagine heading out into the blue, and seeing a two-meter shark casually cruise past you.  

Despite their reputation, not all sharks are fearless predators. In fact, studies show that sharks have their own personalities. Just like humans, they can be social or solitary. Mike Coots often emphasizes attributes that humanize sharks in his photos, like a slight smirk, or a twinkle in the eye. “If you can relate to something, it makes you want to learn more about it, and protect it.” 
Sharks help keep the marine ecosystem we love and depend on healthy and we, in turn, need to do our best to help save them. Giving back to our oceans can be as simple as making smarter choices when it comes to seafood, sharing your love for sharks, and removing waste from our beaches and waters.

"I would describe the ocean, in three words as: My entire life"