Another charge against the sharks?

Anthony Pancia

As suggested in Monday’s article, it’s hard to ignore the shark menace in West Oz. So much so that a couple years ago, Perth board manufacturer Dave Smith decided to do something about it.

But looking at the available technology, Dave quickly realised having a noise emitting device hanging off the back of the surfboard didn’t quite give him the piece of mind he was chasing.

Shortly after, and following self-funded research with pretty much every species of shark-including white pointers off the south coast of New Zealand-he launched Surf Safe.

The product works in same way as most other products in that it emits an electrical current, which is detected by the shark’s 'Ampulle of Lorenzini', small gel filled sacs located on a sharks’ snout.

But Dave says the point of difference with his product is that is laminated flush into the bottom of the board and emits a DC current, which he says does not produce a “clicking sound” found in products using an AC current.

It weighs 140grams and can be installed during manufacture of a board or retro fitted by your local ding repair guy and will not interfere with the bottom contour.

Most importantly, he says the product will repel a shark before it gets within three metres.

“A lot of it is speculation but I have seen the product work over and over with the white pointers we tested it with in New Zealand and I am confident it will stop them,” says Dave.

“We launched the product in August last year and are shipping them to Reunion Island, Mauritius and the East Coast of Australia and we’ve not had one report of anyone having an encounter with a shark.”

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hooter79's picture
hooter79's picture
hooter79 Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 2:39pm

I have had one of these units in my go to short board for over a year now. Great peace of mind after being spooked by a "small submarine" while surfing offshore in WA a few years back.
Doesn't interfere with the performance of the board at all and Dave did a great job putting an old unit from a snapped DHD into a custom Dave Mac...wouldn't even know it was there if it wasn't for the sticker.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 3:04pm

So its been tested over and over with white Pointers in N.Z. and the proof is the vid footage ............ that is the 18seconds of nothing on the website......c'mon be fucking real.

But well done with the units weight ,battery time and fitment.

hooter79's picture
hooter79's picture
hooter79 Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 4:28pm

I will take anything that gives me an edge on not becoming fish food...especially some of the breaks I surf over here in WA.

My question to udo is what type of proof or evidence would make a difference???
The unit was switched off with bait in the water, shark investigates and when switch on the shark pisses off pretty quick.
Will it stop a 5m Great White in full attack at 30km/h...not sure...but the science definitely suggests that the pulse emitted fucks with their Ampullae of Lorenzini!!
Its its
1)cull sharks indiscriminately or
2)stick your head in the sand and hope or
3)use technology to help both ocean users and sharks...
I for one am for tech and think more effort should be put into this field without the political and academic red tape.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 5:20pm

The unit was switched off with a bait in the water ........the shark investigates and when switched on the shark pisses off real quick ............all I saw was 18 seconds of fuck all out of some supposed testing with GWS which the owner says he is confident his device will stop them from attacking us...........I would want to see some decent vids of this thing repelling reviews on there website yet....Reunion and Mauritius reviews will be interesting.

I would feel just as safe with a power balance wristband around my genitalia than this unit...............

hooter79's picture
hooter79's picture
hooter79 Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 6:22pm

udo - what type of proof or evidence would make a difference?

PS "a power band around your genitalia"....each to their own....RAOFL!!!!!!

token's picture
token's picture
token Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 7:01pm

i have seen a shark week vidieo on national geopgraphic where they tested the electrical currents on sharks and while they did repel them they became used to the current and after a few investigitive runs they werent afraid of the current,maybe the device needs to have a few settings on it to change every hour or so

token's picture
token's picture
token Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015 at 7:04pm

but i do praise the people who are trying to make surfing safer for all of us, just imagine the feeling of not having to worry about being attacked at some of the more remote spots in wa where getting help is just too far away, anything for peace of mind i say

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma Friday, 23 Jan 2015 at 11:19am

just for the sake of clarity here Hooter, have you got any interest or association with this product as your post suggests you have been testing it for some time and know the guy who owns it. Not an issue as long as we understand your position.
From what I understand this has been put out by the new owner of the Shark Shield which has been around in various forms for about 15 years and has been bought and sold several times. Someone correct me if I am wrong on that score.
From my understanding all these devices do is "charge" the water around them with a mild electrical current that, depending on model and power, will give you either a mild shock or tingling if you get close to the source or touch it. Apart from weight and bulk the reason one would not use the trailing black plastic thick "leggie" type that divers trail from one leg on a sort surfboard is that you would be getting "zapped" all the time.
That model was/is bulky because it needs to be to put out enough charge to be effective and to now make fins that give out a current on a short surfboard would either mean the current is really weak or one will get "zapped " every time you bump your foot against the fin or at least have a tingling feeling in your feet and legs every time you sit up on your board.
Most reports seem to indicate sharks attack upward from underneath so one would assume the current/electrical charge would have to be very strong and go pretty deep to deter the charging shark. So it begs the question, are there any statistics/specifications that are put out by this company or is it just "oh it will stop a white pointer at 3 metres".

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 23 Jan 2015 at 11:31am

Now that SharkShield has been mentioned SARDI did huge amounts of testing with SharkSheild in Southern Aust and Sth African waters ,its on PDF or whatever its called, very scientific and a long but a good read.

SurferSam's picture
SurferSam's picture
SurferSam Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 at 10:10am

A lot of misinformation in these comments. This device is not linked to the shark shield company in any way, although it does use a similar principle in deterring the sharks. The big difference with this device is it's practical for surfers. You don't even notice it's there. I have 2 boards with it in and it's great. And no I have no link at all to the manufacturer Dave Smith. Dave should be given a lot of credit for developing and testing the unit with his own money (no government handouts like shark shield). The guy is a real surfer so it's great to finally have a product that surfers can use. There is too much negativity on this site...(the comments that is)

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Friday, 30 Jan 2015 at 10:18pm

Jeez another shark repellant device- Sharkbanz a bit bigger than a dive watch, uses no battery , does not need one because it does not produce a electrical current .... uses a couple of magnets of some sort ?
oh well cheap enough @ $59 and there test vids are a bit better than Surfsafe's .

EDIT: just saw your post Ben 9th of jan re Sharkbanz on the power balance wristband thread.

hooter79's picture
hooter79's picture
hooter79 Friday, 30 Jan 2015 at 10:29pm

No association mate - ohhhh and the Sharksheild units are completely different