Sharks are everywhere because their natural habitat is the oceans of the world. When we go surfing or swimming, we're entering their territory. But how can surfers enjoy their waves in shark-infested waters?
The shark repellent industry has grown a lot in the 21st century. Technology paved the way for the development of smart devices and gadgets that can keep sharks away from humans.
The market offers five main types of shark deterrents:
- Magnetic repellents;
- Electric repellents;
- Sound repellents;
- Semiochemical repellents;
- Visual repellents;
They reach the consumer market in the form of surf leashes, rubber bands, spray cans, and wetsuits.
Some are more appropriate for surfers; others are more comfortable for divers and occasional swimmers.
Although shark repellents and shark deterrents will never be 100 percent effective, they will definitely provide you some peace of mind.
This is especially true if you surf the most popular spots in Florida, South Africa, California, Australia, and other shark-infested beaches.
Commercial Shark Repellents and Deterrents
Surfers are an easy target for sharks. While surfers wait for the set wave, great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks prepare for their assault.
Unfortunately for the surfing community and their families, many lives have been lost to the predator.
Culling sharks will never be the right answer to unprovoked attacks.
But if a surf leash can save a surfer's life, why shouldn't we adopt them and improve them over time?
Although it is still impossible to deter a great white ambush attack, there are a few products and solutions which can dramatically increase the chances of not being killed by a shark while catching waves.
SharkBanz 2 is one of the most popular shark repellents for surfers. It uses no batteries, chemicals, or electricity to stop the predator's attack.
The technology relies on magnetic waves emitted by the band that disrupts the shark's electro-receptors. It is worn on the wrist or ankle.
It uses patented powerful magnetic technology that creates an electromagnetic field that is thousands of times stronger than the shark's natural electrical senses.
When a shark approaches this field, it is disrupted and quickly turns away. It can be worn over a wetsuit or directly on the skin and is easy to use.
Its deterrent field is approximately 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) in size, but wearing two Sharkbanz 2 bands (one on the ankle and another on the opposite wrist) can increase the overall deterrent field size and provide greater protection.
Ocean Guardian Freedom Surf+
The Ocean Guardia Freedom Surf+ is a shark deterrent solution developed by Ocean & Earth and former professional surfer Tom Carroll.
It features a streamlined electrode and black antenna design and comes with a transferable power module, a charging dock, and one tail pad/antenna that is ready to install on your surfboard.
If you have multiple boards, you will only need an additional tail pad per board.
The brand says it's the world's only scientifically proven and independently tested electrical shark deterrent.
The Government of Western Australia offers a $200 rebate to residents who buy this shark deterrent.
Shark Shield Freedom 7
The Shark Shield Freedom 7 is a diving device that creates a six-meter-long electrical field that keeps sharks away.
It gives you up to six hours of protection from all predatory sharks. It can be used at depths of up to 164 feet (50 meters).
The device is compact, lightweight, and versatile and is intended to be worn by the user. It creates a protective electrical field around the user that is approximately 6 meters (20 feet) by 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter and is scientifically proven to be effective at turning sharks away.
The Shark Shield Freedom 7 is included in the Western Australian Government's Shark Deterrent Rebate Program and is only designed to repel sharks and rays, not other marine animals such as fish, crocodiles, dolphins, or whales.
Shark Attack Mitigation Systems | The Radiator Diverter Surf Wetsuit
The Radiator Diverter is a wetsuit that, used in conjunction with a shark deterrent surfboard sticker, disrupts the shark's visual perception and presents the wetsuit user as potentially dangerous and not pleasant to taste.
The wetsuit features a striped pattern that is similar to the patterns found on many poisonous fish, which are known to be avoided by sharks.
It is intended to be worn by surfers and is designed to be comfortable, flexible, and durable.
The SharkStopper emits an acoustic signal that repels sharks. The device automatically powers itself on in the water and works for four hours non-stop. It can be charged via a USB or a power outlet.
The following solutions are no longer available in the market.
The Modom Shark Leash is a surf leash that incorporates magnetic technology that repels sharks. It doesn't lose its deterrent powers over time, and it requires no charging.
The Anti Shark 100 is a repellent spray that keeps 15 species away from anyone who uses it. The eco-friendly product does not harm sharks or wildlife, and it does not affect fish. Once it is released, sharks won't get near it for approximately 30-45 minutes.
The NoShark is an electronic shark deterrent surf leash. It sends out a high-voltage proprietary signal that short-circuits the gel in a shark's nose. It is rechargeable, with an active life of approximately five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours.
The Shark Shocker is an ankle or wristband featuring a rare-earth neodymium-iron-boride magnet. When activated in the water, it emits a magnetic field that interferes with the shark's ampullae of Lorenzini.