Lake Sinclair family gets clean in shark shower.
The average lake resident probably doesn’t spend much time contemplating showering while standing in the belly of a shark; but one small inspiration was all it took for John Parker to make that happen for his family and friends. And now, the Parkers’ shark shower is a well-known landmark on Lake Sinclair.
“A lot of people stop and take pictures, and we’ve even had strangers come up in their boats and ask if they could take a shower,” John said with a laugh.
The outdoor shower is a realistic looking Great White Shark that is fifteen and one-half feet in length and thirty-six inches in diameter that hangs by its tail in the yard of the Parkers’ A-frame cabin on the main lake.
John and Julie have had the cabin for more than thirty years. Around 2006, they and “a bunch of people – family and friends” were sitting out on the deck and all the guests had planned to spend the night and wanted to take a shower. “I started thinking how to make it easier for a bunch of people to take a shower, and I was talking to my niece, and I knew she was a shark fan, so I said, ‘I could make a great white shark shower,’” John reminisced. “And she said, ‘that would be cool, Uncle John.’”
John didn’t elaborate on how everyone took a shower that particular night, but when he and Julie returned to their home in Fayetteville, Georgia, he freehand sketched a shark on a piece of paper and made a transparency out of it. He put the transparency on a projector and shined it on the garage door. “I told my wife to stand in front of it so I could see how big I needed to make the shark, and then I kept pulling the projector back to make it bigger, and then traced it on the wall. It was really pretty easy,” he explained.
Evidently, such a request from her husband was not unusual to Julie. “Most of John’s creations started out on a paper napkin,” she said. “He told me, ‘Stand here,’ so I did, but I knew all the neighbors were wondering what we were doing out there so late at night.”
John asked a fabricator to roll half-inch square steel rods into round “ribbing.” He taught himself to weld and attached the rolled rods to the top line of the shark, creating a metal frame out of five hundred and fifty pounds of steel. He wrapped the frame with hardware cloth/wire mesh, which he welded on and then covered it with fiberglass spray foam insulation. John glued some sandpaper onto a car buffer and sanded the foam into the fluid lines of the shark’s exterior, then took it to a friend’s vehicle body shop and had the entire shark coated in truck bedliner spray.
“I’m assuming I put about $2,500 total in it, and it took me about nine months to build,” John said, and explained that he made the entire shark in his garage at home in Fayetteville, then drove it on a truck trailer to his Lake Sinclair home. “We were going down the highway and everybody was slowing down beside us and staring,” Julie added with a laugh.
Hanging the heavy Great White on its rack in the yard proved a small challenge, but John recruited friends and family members to help. “It was a community affair when all was said and done,” Julie acknowledged.
After it was hung, he built a small wooden deck under it and an enclosed changing room
beside it. The shower provides both hot and cold water and the theme song of the movie “Jaws” plays when the door is opened. The red interior light highlighting the shark’s muscles along with the bathmat under the shower that resembles a puddle of blood adds to the fun illusion of being inside a shark.
“Everybody loves using it,” John said. “We have a shower inside the cabin and three outdoor showers, but only one shark shower and that’s everyone’s favorite.”
How to find the Shark Shower:
While boating on Lake Sinclair, from Goat Island, heading toward Sinclair Marina, the Shark Shower is at the cove right before the power lines. There’s a large brown and yellow sign that says “Duck Landing” in front. The shark is in the trees to the right of that house/sign.
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Article and photos by Lynn Hobbs, as published in the July-August 2021 issue of Lakelife magazine.