It’s been a rough couple of years on the shark attack front. Between Australia’s much-contested shark cull, the rapid media reporting of every single shark encounter/attack, and Mick’s Fanning’s dust-up with a white, sharks and surfing are in your face more now than since the release of Jaws.
Culling, though, isn’t the solution. Already, we kill somewhere around 100 million every year, and as important members of a very fragile ecosystem, sharks are a very necessary creature. As much as it might make a few people feel better, killing more sharks is a dumb idea.
This summer, however, did create something of a perfect storm–warming oceans attract both sharks and beach goers, and something does need to be done. Instead of killing more sharks, though, repelling them seems to be a much smarter idea.
That’s where a company called Surf Safe comes in. For around $400, a guy named Dave Smith will sell you a simple device that you can install on your surfboard that might just prevent an attack.
It’s a simple idea: sharks have something called ampullea of Lernizini that helps them find prey. It’s a series of jelly-filled canals that helps sharks sense electric fields. Surf Safe is a little device that is installed near the fins. It’s a battery of sorts that’s connected to a wire that runs along the stringer. When it’s on, it messes with the sharks hunting organs.
According to the company, Surf Safe “forms a protective three meter barrier around the board in every direction.”
Testing these sorts of things is difficult, though. The only true test would involve putting a surfer in danger. But it does stand to reason that this kind of thing should work. Below is a demonstration of the device.