What can you do about sharks?!

Everyone that surfs has thought about sharks. This past year has been one of the most active ones ever for shark attacks in Hawaii. Surfline pulled it down, but my friends and I were able to find and actually watch footage of an attack that occurred on camera that also happens to be the main spot my buddy surfs in the summer time. Pretty spooky.

I actually remember surfing the spot where Bethany Hamilton got her arm bit off by a tiger. The one other guy I was surfing with caught one in. Next thing I knew I was out there by myself and the sun was setting and I knew that’s when the sharks like to feed. Everyone knows that your likelihood of getting attacked is relatively low, but it’s still something that a lot of surfers think about.

So what are your options?

  1. Wear a zebra stripe wetsuit / surfboard that is supposed to make you look like a poisonous lionfish? Nope, I don’t want to look like Zoolander when I’m surfing. Plus, a shark scientist in the Surfers Journal on an article about sharks said that if you’re on a board and the shark is hitting you from the bottom then you’ll be back lit and the shark really be able to see that you’re striped.

  2. One option that I was actually considering was https://www.sharkeyesglobal.com/collections/shark-deterrent-stickers because of its minimally intrusive nature, low cost, and low risk. The basic idea is a sticker decal with eyes on your surfboard that make the shark think you’ve spotted it and was developed by a big wave surfer from West Oz who has been in 3 shark attacks and lost a best friend to one. The logic makes sense, but the only issue is that I could see how this would work if you’re an abalone diver on the bottom of the ocean and the shark is looking down at you, but if you have eyes on the bottom of your board you’ll still run into the issue of the eyes being backlit. Still, this is so unintrusive and cheap that if I were going to a truly sharky area like Western australia or J Bay I would probably do it.

  3. Another new option that came to the market is a Sharkbanz which is basically a little cuff you wear on your ankle that emits electric signals to scare sharks away. https://www.sharkbanz.com/products/sharkbanz-2 The video test trials look pretty compelling, although the issue is that the scenario doesn’t properly mimic what it’d be like to be the target of an actual shark attack. In the video they are chumming the water and the shark is just taking investigatory bites. This would be very different vs a shark that’s going to come from deep at full speed and hit you. At that speed it’s uncertain whether the electrical signals would divert the shark’s trajectory. Again, if I were going somewhere super sharky I’d consider this. At $130, it’s actually relatively affordable as well and might be worth it for a little extra peace of mind.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you guys come across anything that looks legit!

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