Given Mick Fanning's encounter with a couple of Great Whites at J-Bay and the increased frequency of shark attacks recently in Australia I thought it might be good to open a topic on the effectiveness of shark deterants. The following is a post from Windxtasy in the latest Caption Comp
I have seen video of the trials for these wetsuits. They weren't allowed to use human shaped dummies, but they used drums filled with fish. The drums were plain, or covered with neoprene in these patterns. Sharks have poor visual resolution but good contrast recognition. This means they have trouble discriminating broken outlines. They mostly attack from below and the "prey" is outlined against the blue sky above. From below, a surfer on a board in a black wetsuit looks remarkably like a fat seal. Anyway, back to the experiment - the drums coated in the patterns confused the sharks. They swam up to them but did not bite them. It was like the shark knew there was something tasty there but couldn't quite see where it was. They attacked the plain drum. Research done At UWA by Shaun Collin
I've also read about the research which looks quite promising. It's interesting that this technology marketed by Radiator, a local wetsuit manufacturer, do not appear to have gained any real market share. Is it because we care what we look like, or is the technology to expensive or the perceived risk too small, given the relatively few number of attacks and the short amount of time we spend in the water compared to surfers.
Also, listening to Hack on JJJ last night, Tom Tilley interviewed a marine biologists about shark deterants. The marine biologists mentioned a small personnel electronic shark deterrent device was also successfully tested in independent trials.
Has anyone purchased and uses either the wetsuit or electronic devices?
Has anyone's view on this matter changed as a consequence of the visibility of the attack on Fanning?
Waste of money for Windsurfing/Kiting I reckon.
You are nearly always moving (at speed) and not a sitting target.
Falling one one on the other hand... Best not to practice that!
^ I haven't heard of an attack on a kiter yet. I hope you're right.
... hmm shark lures?
Yeah, the body dragging thing.
The way I've had it explained to me is that it's the repetitive track (paddle out to the point, float, catch wave, paddle back out again) that surfers do that more mimics sick/injured shark food (seals, fish etc).
Body dragging through a ball of baitfish/ feeding birds is probably not the best idea, but the relatively short time spent in the water should not be an issue unless you fall off onto one.
foil kiters could be the next victims.
It "seems" the shape of the foil attracts sharks. They don't see the kite nor the board so just go for the fish looking thingy.
We've had one attack locally, only attacks we'd had before were on surfers/divers.
The guy had just fallen and was going to restart his kite when he was badly bitten.
One of my mates was kite foiling in shallow water and he saw a small tiger shark turn around to give him chase.
Read this on one of the other Seabreeze forums:
If viewed from below wouldn't those wetsuits just look black cause the sun would be above them? Any divers care to comment when your on the bottom and look up.
I think that any deterrent is good if it works and is easily accessible. If I am floating around in the bay with gear breakage why not ? If the shark deterrent wetsuits a similar price to current ones on the market I would consider one next time i go buy one. I also received a shark band as a gift recently so now wear it when i sailing in the bay. Not sure if they work and have not seen any independent reviews.
Ps instructions say that effective with most preditary sharks but not Great Whites due to their attack behaviour.
I want one of the blue ones , Hate sharks and every one else has a black whet suit winter is almost over though so maybe next year