Do we need to get serious about shark protection?
As a regular on the surf coast I was deeply troubled by the recent events just out of Lorne. This break was particularly special to me and it occurred to me is it about time we start to think differently about shark protection?
The Hearld Sun newspaper in the Wednesday edition reported that during the recent Christmas period around 32 sharks were spotted in the local area between Angelsea and Fairhaven so as a local to the area the facts are now pretty much on the wall, sharks are in the area regularly. To date it seems that a large number of surfers are wanting a 100% full proof option to protect them against a shark and also wanting this at a cheap or affordable price point.
The reality I think is there will never be a 100% full proof device so do we need to change our thinking about shark protection to be more combative in nature, say like an armoured tank does with warfare let me give you an example.
I tank normally rolls out into battle with a camouflage vehicle, I have not seen too many in fluro pink or yellow ones that say” look at me!” Should we be also thinking about the same idea with say the strips idea on the surfboard.
Ok if this first level of defence fails and the shark does spot you whats next? A tank normally has a gun to shoot out shots to protect itself. Now as much as I would like to give the shark a giant hug and shower it in rainbows with the view to talk through our differences, once it makes a charge they have decided to go nuclear so everything is now up for grabs.
Would it make sense to bring up the forcefield maybe an electric current system to try and fend the shark back a little and repel it away. Oh know, this did not work and the shark is now really pissed off.
Now I am no Mick Fanning or Croc Dundee but we are now down to hand to hand combat and the shark is looking to taking prisons being my limbs, so what could be possible in the future with the development in surf technology?
Well what about a panic button a hard core “Iron Man” type blast take all the energy in that battery pack which is left to give the shark one giant taser bolt.
Well this did not work either and now the sharks teeth are out and its about to get nasty.
Forget that Flashbomb lining I want a kevlar lined wetsuit from the ankles up to the knees, so if he gets a piece of me he can’t get through.
Then my final last resort if it comes down to him or me I want a small knife that I can extract from my wetsuit or board that if I have to go down swinging that I am getting the same penetration like shark do when he bites to even up the playing field.
Now some of this technology is on the table today but it would be really great if I could just order off the shelf an affordable price point surfboard which should be called “the tank” which has enough battle protection which puts me in good stead if the men in grey suites decide to have a go. Come on JS, DHD, Firewire etc there has to be a need to get behind this type of offering.
Now like the tank it won’t be full proof and I get this you can always get out nuked in battle but at least I get a fighting chance rather than sitting out there in my boardies screaming my head off.
I think the biggest difference is that we need to possibly move our mind set from this does not work, to realise that nothing will be 100% perfect. Like a car you have seat belts, air bags, crash zones etc. As an industry it would be great if the surf companies could look at the same life saving technology with the same energy which they invented with the big wave surfing and look to provide some innovative solutions that might add some extra assistance for a surfer that likes to surf in sharky waters like me.
AJ, is this the kind of thing you're thinking of?
Jeez. Sharks in the ocean. Who would have thought.. don't surf then. 100 % shark proof then..
Mate they have always been in Vicco waters. The Prom, Phillip island, Port fairy and Portland all have large populations . In Victoria sharks, like destinations that start with the letter P.
All these spots mentioned have breeding grounds near by, or are major feeding centres with large seal populations and hence lots of farking big creatures. They are around . T is for Torquay .....mmm not to many letters or to far from the P's. Greyhounds advice is sound.
Aj I'm just across the heads, whatever you're taking can you just pop some on the ferry and I'll take care of it from there.
I think surfing's not for you, AJ.
AJ I often wonder about a cattle prod type device strapped to the arm James Bond style to give the shark a jolt to limit the damage once the attack starter.
The bonus would be if it accidentally went off and zapped that w@nker that just burnt you, down side is if he has one too then it could lead to dueling zap sticks on the beach.
AJ said, "I get a fighting chance rather than sitting out there in my boardies screaming my head off".
What?? AJ you surf in board shorts, do you know how many people die from Melanoma?
What about fins that shoot out like ninja stars?
Think the ninja stars has real merit.
How about a wetsuit wired so when the shark bites it get a massive zap..............down side is you would get to share the experience together with the shark.
AJ, been back on surfcoast for a decade now, after living in WA for 25 years or so.
With respect, when one is coming at you, you don't really have time to react or deploy any device you might have on you. You have your board, and your body. And that's if it comes at you on the surface, if it comes from below you may have no warning.
If you see them around and under you beforehand, maybe develop little homing torpedos with firecracker warheads?
For my $2, what was happening in WA in the mid to late 90's is kind of where we're at on the SC. It's been a great and fun last 10 years, and pretty safe too on those long, far out to sea paddles. In WA they got curious, the drive bys started, then...
Get one of these puppy's installed
That retro fit is shit...imagine boring a hole next to the stringer to take the electrode wire on a Firewire...leaving a lovely long Air Gap....Warm car or direct sun - Delam.
Wrong mate had it done to several boards both pu and epoxy with no
Done as a Retro fit ?
Same as SuferSam had Firwire's fitted with repla's plus PU and EPS boards no issues no different to a fin box surf WA waves, boards have been to Bali and Ments all retrofitted.
Leave my firewire regularly in my car at work winter/summer no issues no nothing
Yes all my boards as retrofit - but I think most joints will install it in customs up front too. Some people don't believe in the technology but I think he it's gotta make some difference - put your hand on it and it gives u a real boot would have to be annoying to a shark
I think we're approaching this whole scenario wrong. We need to think "long term" about this. If we all start soaking our wetsuits in glyphosate and wearing brightly colored stripes, eventually the sharks will catch on. Those that do get bitten by a shark will go on to poison the shark thanks to the toxic properties of the herbicide. If the shark doesn't die from the poison, it may still go on develop terminal cancers later in life which MAY act as a type of deterrent but can't be guaranteed. Maybe in 100 years+ from now the sharks will treat us surfers the same way as sea snakes? The negative health effects on humans who soak their wetsuits in roundup has not yet been fully investigated although it is assumed to only be slightly better than being shark food thanks to the carcinogenic nature of glyphosate. Research continues & volunteers are actively being sought for the next stage.