For people who don’t surf, and for a few who do, sharks are the most common topic of conversation when talking about the ocean. Unfortunately, sharks and shark attacks have been in the news a lot lately with two attacks on surfers in Northern California a couple weeks ago and two attacks on divers on the same day in Hawaii. This got me to thinking about what kinds of shark repellents are on the market today and why surfers don’t use them. After Google searching “shark repellents for surfers” and sifting through heaps of strange inventions I have taken it upon myself to compile a list of my most noteworthy findings.
Firstly, the SURF7 by SharkShield (www.sharkshield.com) is an eight foot long antenna that attaches to the tail of a board and emits a protective electrical field. The electrical field is detected through the shark’s sensory receptors and deters them from the area, in theory. The SURF7, besides most likely being absurdly frustrating while tangling your leash and slowing you down, will also put a pretty substantial dent in your wallet. The SURF7 costs a smooth $650.00, but if it gives you peace of mind, maybe it’s worth it.
My second find was the Shark Camo (www.sharkcamo.com). It’s pretty much a big sticker that goes on the bottom of your board to resemble certain fish species that predatory sharks do not eat. This product is way more convenient than the SURF7 and substantially cheaper at an easy $49.95 for short boards, $74.95 for longboards, and $99.95 for SUPs but again, if you believe the evidence then it’s a small price to pay for serenity.
There are a plethora of other repellents such as wetsuits with certain designs, odorous aerosol sprays and anklets that work similarly to the SURF7, but it doesn’t answer the heart of the question: Why don’t surfers use them? Maybe it’s because we understand that the risk of being attacked is exceptionally rare, (1 in every 11.5 million) or maybe we’re just stubborn and think it will never happen to us, but either way I can’t foresee a barrage of shark repellents making their way into the lineups anytime soon