Instructions for the unthinkable: Dr Jon Cohen and the Shark Bite First Aid Kit

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Recently Dr Jon Cohen, an expat Canadian now living in Manly, was invited to attend a community forum in Esperance, Western Australia. The topic being discussed? Responding to shark attacks.

Also attending the forum were fishermen, divers, spearfishers, and surfers, plus many ordinary Esperance locals who remembered how, in their youth, they were able to dive off the wharf and swim in the bay. These days few would risk it.

The forum was a model of community action. Unable to shape government policy but unwilling to remain passive about changing shark behaviour, Esperance locals resolved to do whatever they could utilising their own ingenuity and resources.

Cohen was there in his guise as a surfing doctor; someone who can arm the early responders with the knowledge to save a life. After listening to speakers and realising what his own talents and limitations were, he devised a very simple shark bite first aid kit.

Cohen's got form on the board here. He's the founder of Better Surf, who among other things manufacture the 'Calm As...First Aid Kit For Surfers', (which I was incredibly thankful for after a hitting a reef in isolated Indonesia last year), tourniquets, and other medical necessities.

Initially, the 'Shark Bite First Aid Slam Pack' was packaged for Esperance locals. A benefactor paid for 75 units to be divvied up among anyone who figured they'd need one. They came with large stickers that users could place on their car or boat informing others that essential medical equipment was inside. It created a network of like-minded ocean users in the small town. People who knew they could rely on each other should the unthinkable occur.

Cohen's now seeking to distribute the kits to other communities or sell them via his Better Surf website.

The genius of the Shark Bite First Aid Kit is its simplicity, which is designed for swift action with one goal in mind: stopping a victim from bleeding. Says Cohen, "It's all you have to think about with a shark attack victim - stopping the bleeding. Considering the many other medical procedures, it's the simplest thing you can do to save someone's life."

Which is easily said, of course, the reality is far more onerous, and Cohen understands the pressure. So tip the pack out - "slam the pack out" - and all you'll find is essential equipment, and with it a tea towel-sized piece of fabric with instructions boldly printed on it. The Shark Bite First Aid Kit contains nothing extraneous to the cause at hand. Nothing for first-time physicians to sort through, to make time-wasting decisions or potentially get confused.

Inside the kit is:

  • Two large bandages
  • Two tourniquets (that, very importantly, meets Australian Standards)
  • Many sets of gloves
  • Elastic dressing
  • The waterproof instruction sheet

Clockwise from top left: two tourniquets, numerous sets of rubber gloves, a thermal emergency blanket, elastic wrap, and two large bandages.

All of which is packaged in a waterproof bag designed to fit in a glovebox, PWC storage bin, or anywhere on a boat.

It also comes with a lifetime warranty and if the worst ever comes to pass they'll replace everything for you.

Visit the Better Surf website
Watch an instructional video on the kit

Comments

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 9:44am

GR8 initiative! Every board-riders club should invest as well as isolated surfing communities ( I'm sure the clubbies would have something similar?)

wax-on-danielson's picture
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wax-on-danielson commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 10:12am

Good idea if they make it to the beach alive. In the water though maybe a diving knife might be more help.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:24pm

Good point Waxo - having a tourniquet in the water is a key part of the kits. If I’m at all feeling like the surf is Sharky I bring the SWAT, which is in these kits or available separately in the chest zip of my wettie. Especially if you’re surfing / diving far offshore you won’t likely make it back to the beach with much blood left in you after a major attack. The stuff you slam out on the beach is there in case the swat doesn’t work, or to cover up the mess until backup arrives

Garryfrayne's picture
Garryfrayne's picture
Garryfrayne commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 12:45pm

My self and a mate have been wearing a tactical tourniquet (CAT) in our wetsuits (chest zips) for a few years whilst surfing. A little bulky but peace of mind for the unthinkable over here in WA. Those first few minutes being so critical. The scary bit is stopping to apply out the back before trying to get back in. I guess a judgement call at the time.
We also carry one on the boat or attached to our wet suits when spearfishing too.
A version that is just an inch or two shorter would be better though, especially for surfing.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 7:43am

I like the dedication Garry!

How does the CAT hold up with the salt and sun? They're really well made, but not specifically designed for the marine environment - definitely outside of their "warranty" use. A fair few of us in the Surfing Doctors and some non-medical mates have been using the SWAT's for awhile out of the package, in the chest zip, and nobody's told me they've had one fail / snap yet. We're probably about 3 years into surfing with them.

You could probably snip a bit off the edges of the windlass on the CAT and still be able to crank it when needed. Might try that with an old counterfeit CAT and post the results down the track as a potential solution for people who don't like the SWAT (alot of the military / tactical medicine guys prefer windlass designs).

Garryfrayne's picture
Garryfrayne's picture
Garryfrayne commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 11:41am

So far so good. In the early days I used to give it a rinse, but it seems to be holding up really well with little to no signs of corrosion or webbing deterioration. The only thing that needs replacing is the rubber bands to keep it folded.

Definitely a market for a slightly shorter version, even if just the webbing base,

I haven't tried the SWAT, but it does look more compact and lighter, I suspect the CAT would apply more pressure with the windlass though.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 10:23am

Yeah good stuff.
If Dr Cohen is reading, can I suggest that it'd probably also be really helpful to put a video demonstration of the kit being used on a mannequin on the website?

He who hesitates is lost

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 10:32am

Pops speaks and the good doctor responds!

This vid is also on the Better Surf website, which they're currently uploading with new content.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 10:39am

Thanks Stu - I shoulda checked before I commented!

He who hesitates is lost

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:26pm

Thanks for that Stu.
The vid was really just meant for the guys in Esperance but given current circumstances on the east coast we released it more widely so people have that knowledge even if it’s not specific for them. We’re going to try to do some stuff with clubs / shires on the east coast if anyone shows interest in this kind of solution

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:53pm

Brilliant. Thanks Doc and swellnet. Pretty keen to get hold of one of these packs. Don't mind carrying one in to the beach, they're don't look like too much hassle. Great instructions. Cheers.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 3:48pm

Was also thinking of spots like Lefties / Umbies in Gracetown where you’re quite a walk from either side but the crew’s kind of sitting on a single bit of reef

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:28am

Be great to hear from some professional(s) (Paramedic, Trauma Doctors) about the best solution for response strategy...

Do you get the bleeding person to the beach ASAP, or stop the bleeding out in the water?

First aide kits in a car, or on a beach may be too late to use if blood loss is large. So, how best should we respond?

Should we use a legrope as an urgent impromptu tourniquet? Use hands, to stop bleeding? Making blood loss in water the priority...

Or

Rush to get the victim to the beach? Making all effort toward the return to beach?

If multiple people assisting, possible to do both. If you're the first responder, what's your priority?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

monk's picture
monk's picture
monk commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:45am

Really good questions Wingnut. As Spring hits down in SWWA I have been thinking about purchasing something. This is a great idea but generally a pretty big walk from the car to the beach, which could be critical in a lot of instances. Rather than lug the kit to the beach every-time (which is unlikely as most of us just walk with the bare essentials) I was thinking that the leash tourniquet would be a better 'first purchase' than this kit (https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/08/31/new-tournique...). But I would also be keen for anyone who is really in the know to respond to your Qs above.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:50am

In the pack above it's got a different version you can slip into your wetsuit if further from the shore or more remote.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:31pm

The leg rope tourniquet is effective. We used to sell them on the site. I personally never used them because it felt a bit clunky on my ankle and I felt Incould get a SWAT on faster. They stopped exporting to Aus cause sales were too slow but you might still be able to get one from TacMed.com.au - they were the other company importing them. They have heaps of other tourniquets and general trauma gear that we don’t sell if you don’t find what you need on our site

Greg86r's picture
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Greg86r commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 2:40pm

Do you have any links to real life pictures or video of a tourniquet made from a legrope or other improvised object that has been applied to a victim so we can get a better idea of how tight and where specifically it should be placed and what it should look like to achieve the best results possible?

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 6:49pm

Hey Greg86r - couldn't work out how to upload a pic.
We re-posted a great article on this (albeit more geared towards military people) on the instagram a few months back. We'll do a demo video that's more surf specific later this year. Basically you just need to:
1) get a rope / leggie / towel around the leg, a few wraps
2) put some kind of stick under the outermost layer of rope / leggie / towel
3) wind the stick so it pulls the rope / leggie / towel tighter. How tight? until the bleeding stops. Hold it there or tie it into place at that tightness if you can while you get a commercial tourniquet or call for help.

Sorry, much easier to describe with pics / video

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:50am

As a former lifeguard (and I'll caveat this by saying I'm not up to date with latest best-practice), my thought process would be:
1. Personal safety. Am I in imminent danger? I'm not going to be any help if I get incapacitated. Sadly these days "safety" also has to include safety from any blood-borne infections.
2. Danger(s) to the patient. Is it safer to move him or treat him where he is?
3. Is it practical/possible/safe to treat him where he is? Might be if he's in still water, on a big board, relatively calm, and I have something to make a quick torniquet with *and* I'm certain that the shark has moved on. Or if I'm on an IRB or ski and can get him on board. But chances are he'll be in shock/panicking, in the break zone or choppy water, on a little board, and the shark might still be lurking. I.e. way too much chaos & danger to consider trying to stabilise & treat him there.
Better to get him to the beach first. Send someone(s) else to get extra help (first aid kit, lifeguard, ambulance) while you stay with him & try to treat the bleeding (pressure, torniquet) & reassure him (patient will almost certainly go into severe shock). And if other people crowd around and gawk, give them jobs to do (crowd control, directing the ambulence/chopper, getting yourself a bottle of water, finding a towel anything to get them out of the way).

He who hesitates is lost

monk's picture
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monk commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:26pm

Thanks Pops this is really good advice. It seems to me that either way you are better off with a tourniquet in the water, and definitely one on the beach. I understand that leashes can be used but there is a much higher chance that they will fail, and they would be pretty tricky to respond in the water with. This article just spurred me into action and I just paid for a $100 for a leash - it had better be a decent leash - but totally worth the cost if it is required! May even kick in the extra $120 for this kit, but later, after I have gotten over paying so much for a leash... (maybe I'll ask for a xmas present).

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:55pm

Not much point having a torniquet that you don't know how to use either - so its always a good idea to get some first aid training too!

He who hesitates is lost

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:33pm

Nailed it pop. Wouldn’t say a thing different. Be great if some other lifeguards / clubbies wanted to chime in here, especially about what gear you guys usually have in your skis. Be happy to help you come up with a custom solution that fits your workflow, just reach out

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:45pm

I've been away from the scene for a while now (looking at refreshing my qualifications and getting back into the volunteer side this season), but still got a bunch of contacts heavily involved on the NB; not least my old man who's an SLSA trainer & assessor.

Maybe if Stu could flick me your email address I could pass it on and see if there's interest in having you help out with equipment solutions and/or training?

He who hesitates is lost

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:46pm

Though I dunno how/if training will happen this season with the whole pandemic thing...

He who hesitates is lost

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:28pm

In the water’s ideal.
The SWAT is the best option to achieve this, comes in the kit. We designed this to be brought to the beach, and the SWAT to be in your wettie if it feels sharky.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:52am

you'd have to think stopping the bleed out in the water would be first priority.

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:00pm

If possible, absolutely. Might be easier said than done though, depending on the environment.

He who hesitates is lost

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:56am

Remember the sterling job the boys in water did with a Legrope Tornique on Colin Cook when he lost his leg above the knee in Hawaii.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:39pm

One of the tips brought up by the Hawaii guys at the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group summit in Austinmer last year was how to augment the legrope or t-shirt - once you’ve wrapped it round the limb, slip something under it like a drink bottle or knife that will act like a windlass - you crank that just like the rod on a tourniquet to get some mechanical advantage while someone gets a commercial tourniquet (frees up your hands / makes transport easier)

singkenken's picture
singkenken's picture
singkenken commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:29pm

Great comments above ( esp' Pops re: own safety etc). ALWAYS stop the bleeding in the H20 if you can. Use a legrope for a torniquet, stuff your finger into a squirting artery, or pinch it closed, a fist into a wound, roll up a hat / hood you have in the H20 and jam into a wound & LEAVE IT THERE if you can. When you get to shore, reinforce all of this with bandages/ towels etc ( whatever you can find), alert others for help, and tend to the patient's condition ( shock, cold etc). Important to re-check for seepage from the big wounds & place MORE pressure on these areas if blood is striking through the packing / reinforcement ( Dressings / towels / bandages can hold a lot of blood without you knowing about it in time). Take a really quick peek to see if seepage / gush is still happening, but get the packing back in place pronto. Very grisly stuff to do , not for the faint hearted, but the quicker you act & the more blood you save in the person's circulation - better chance of survival. Minutes / seconds do count. Do your best ! , don't be scared to try !. Congrats to all the recent 1st responders in the water - well done & invaluable , and condolences to those who have lost a loved one.

DudeSweetDudeSweet's picture
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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:32pm

Thanks for that advice

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 12:57pm

Well said, especially the tips on how to stop the bleeding.

He who hesitates is lost

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 1:36pm

Perfect advice.
Especially relevant for deep fin chops and lacerations which we’re seeing more of with the rise of foiling.

redclement.'s picture
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redclement. commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 2:06pm

My girlfriend reckons getting devoured by a shark wouldn't so bad, quick and clean. An ill slow painful death far worse. I surf alone wihere a large tiger shark frequents. I have seen him and always send my sincerest regards. Seen myself evading him in a dream. Got out of the water other day sensing his presence.

gdh's picture
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gdh commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 3:07pm

Great points above! A few years ago I was in the water on the northside of Kangaroo Island and had an eerie sense to get out of the water ASAP. It was close to midday and full sun. A couple of mins later a very thick GWS swam up and down the beach in only about a metre of water. its belly was literally grazing the bottom. Boy was I glad I didn't ignore that strange urge to get out of the water.

dazzler's picture
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dazzler commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 3:40pm

My brother has been deployed to the Middle East a couple of times & has done Battlefield First Aid training.

Everyone carries their own tornique on their sleeve, in the event of IED injury to the leg the first thing they do is apply the tornique & survival rate is very good.

etarip's picture
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etarip commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 9:25am

Yup. Trauma management has developed in leaps and bounds due to the prevalence of blast injuries, traumatic explosive amputations and high velocity gunshot wounds experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. They never used to teach tourniquets until the early 2000s. They were seen as dangerous and only for medical professionals to apply. Now they’re part of basic training.

Better to have the tourniquet central on the body - issue with having it on the sleeve was that if your other arm is injured then you can’t reach it. The other takeaway that might be worth considering is some kind of indicator that a CAT is being carried somewhere - in the military there is always a Velcro pouch on someone’s equipment that is clearly marked with a cross. (within a unit everyone will have it in the same spot). Perhaps wetsuit manufacturers could build a small pouch into the small of the back that would take a CAT, on a short webbed leash?

The idea of putting it in the chest zip is solid. Options for boardies or back zip wetsuits must be out there. I’d think about using an elasticised running belt (usually for putting keys or phone in) in the small of the back. It would take remarkable presence of mind to self-apply in the event of a big shark attack, but the more people that are carrying them means that there is a better chance of being able, to apply it to someone else if needed.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:44am

whats a CAT?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:51am

It's a fluffy thing with whiskers.

Lies around the house. Doesn't do much.

1173

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:59pm

Can be handy. The last time I cut myself in the garden, I reached for the nearest cat and applied it to the wound. Got scratched a bit though.

etarip's picture
etarip's picture
etarip commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:09am

Ah, sorry mate:
Combat Application Tourniquet.

Designed for one-handed application

leigh.jones's picture
leigh.jones's picture
leigh.jones commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 7:43am
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 4:52pm

Great points Etarip.
My reasoning for the chest zip is simple - if you get your torso chomped you're very unlikely to make it. Having the legrope tourniquet is awesome for people that wouldn't otherwise bother taking a SWAT with them, but the majority of fatal attacks are to the legs, meaning your odds of having it when you most need it are probably 50/50.

The Ocean Safety Guys were adamant that the kits we made for them needed to come with bumper stickers so that crew would know who on the beach had one in the ute (most spots 4wd access down there).

Maybe for the east coast version the sticker could say "break glass in case of emergency - tourniquet on board" or something. Maybe best left as an "opt in" option...

I've usually got a couple of SWATs kicking around in the ute to lend out so that like you say, even if I can't get one on myself hopefully one of my mates can. Strength in numbers, which is exactly the angle the Ocean Safety Group in Esperance were playing when they got this project started

GoodDays's picture
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GoodDays commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 10:32pm

I asked about 'leg-off' injuries during a first aid course once. (I was thinking sharks.)

The instructor had trained with a US Army medic, and the technique that he passed on was a technique used for land-mine victims with a blown-off leg.

He said they would apply pressure to the artery below the groin by kneeling on the victim, pushing your kneecap firmly across the artery. (Could work on the wound too, I guess?)

Then, the soldier behind the kneeler would lean on them to apply extra pressure.

Sounded reasonable to me.

Thoughts anyone?

I focus's picture
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I focus commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:11pm

A few problems, you are in a surf break and have just paddled into help a shark attack victim which means you will be covered in blood, gore and body parts and then the victim will likely pass out soon after you get to him / her.

If you do not have a military style tourniquet that can be rapidly applied you will be faced with just keeping the victims head above water to stop them drowning. You are now dealing with a dead weight in water that is mostly submerged including the wound.

Accessing the wound is now a problem (impossible)

All this is while a great white is hanging around or continuing to do drive bys or worse having another crack.

Carrying a tourniquet and applying it immediately is the life saver nothing else counts, nothing, SFA other than luck that you get the next wave straight to the beach and have a tourniquet applied.

Note most survivors get to the beach conscious.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 4:54pm

100% accurate. Same reason the Big Wave guys don't advocate for doing chest compressions on the sled, and surf lifesaving guys don't do compressions in the water. Just too hard

GoodDays's picture
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GoodDays commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 9:42pm

Cheers, good thoughts. I will budget the tournie this month, I'll gladly forgo beer money for this.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 4:59pm

Some Australian ER docs did a study looking at something similar, particularly as it applies to shark bites. Presented it at the Annual Scientific Meeting for ACEM last year I think. I reached out to them to chat but they never replied so I can't say for sure whether they were advocating for it as a solution or just a temporising measure. I'm 100% against advocating for that as a "reasonable solution" to sharkbite inflicted haemorrhage. Definitely a legit first aid move on the beach while someone gets a tourniquet, but nothing to feel confident about having up your sleeve.

The tourniquet frees you up to do the rest of the job and get help once it's on. Also, if they lose consciousness you can't do chest compressions effectively and have your knee on their groin at the same time.

Chest compressions are futile if there is active bleeding - you're just squeezing more blood out of the hole and inflicting another layer of violence on an already violent death.

Elroylaroy's picture
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Elroylaroy commented Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:50pm

Agree with I focus. I'm a retrieval doc and immediate bleeding control is the only thing that will save a life. Our first priority is massive bleeding control. The sooner the better. If you can put on in the water you might save those people who are dead by the time they get to the beach. But they may have had their massive haemorrhage already. It will be difficult. Might be an idea to test it sometime for funsies. But if you can't get it on in the water then motor to the beach and bang it straight on. I'm carrying a tourniquet in my chest zip nowadays

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:00pm

Haha cheers Elroyaloy I thought I was the only one ;)
Hopefully never need them eh?

Elroylaroy's picture
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Elroylaroy commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:00pm

Well I actually got the idea from one of the Esperance crew. So thanks for the idea

SurfkingWeber's picture
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SurfkingWeber commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:28am

Wow, what an incredible product. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these. Just knowing it is there when I’m surfing as a safety measure is amazing. Great work Dr Cohen!

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:01pm

Cheers King!

Terminal's picture
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Terminal commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:47am

Wonder if someone has ever thought of integrating rip-cord type tourniquets into the limbs of wetsuits and boardshorts? That way the victim or help can stop blood loss before they get to the beach.

dazzler's picture
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dazzler commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 6:43am

Great idea Terminal. If the attacks continue over next 5 - 10 -15 years I think it will happen, if anyone is still surfing.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:04pm

There are patents on this idea, for military applications.
I have a few designs (some of them patented) for the ideal surfers tourniquet but stopped at the prototype phase. If anyone out there is an industrial designer, engineer or just super wealthy and wants to fund such a designer get in touch and let's make it happen!

These kits are basically the result of me realising that the "ideal" surfer's tourniquet was at least a few years and thousands of dollars away from being reality, so I switched my efforts towards putting together the perfect "everyman" shark bite kit.

etarip's picture
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etarip commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 9:32am

I think one of the limitations on building the tourniquet into clothing / wetsuits is that the mechanism is actually under a lot of tension when applied properly - as you would attest to Jon!
Over time and exposure to saltwater and sun, any strap built into a wetsuit would degrade, as would any plastic windlass mechanism. It’s the same issue for building them into military uniforms - the environmental exposures would increase the chance of failure when you need it most.
My understanding is that the SWAT / CAT tourniquets basically need to be in a sealed, shrink-wrapped plastic sleeve if you’re going to use them repeatedly in the water.

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 6:05am

FANTASTIC comments, info, discussion on what to do. Stop bleeding #1 priority... seems it might be a good idea if we all carried a tourniquet while out surfing.

What are some cost effective and practical options?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:12pm

The SWAT's are $30

The Hawaiian guys advocated for the legrope + stick or metal water bottle (came free at the BWRAG course) which you use as the windlass rod. Nowhere near as good as a legit tourniquet but infinitely better than the knee on groin technique as a middle to longer term solution while waiting for medical backup.

I'll be doing some videos showing some of this stuff and putting it up on our instagram (@calmasfirstaid & the website calmas.com.au)

There's another doc who's like 20 years further down this particular rabbit hole than me, Dr Mike Schertz who has great courses and tips on his website

https://www.crisis-medicine.com/course/complete-tactical-casualty-care/

Full on Emergency Trained Military Doctor who's been involved with bringing the tourniquet back from the dead over the past 20 years. Was lucky enough to do his course while he was out here for the Tactical Medicine Australia conference last year.

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stunet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:25am

Great contributions in this thread. Thanks to all.

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gcuts commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:33am

Any evidence sharks hang around, or repeat the contact, once human blood and flesh is in the water?

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stunet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:47am

Not to sure where to post this, but this thread seems as fitting as any.

Few days back a whale carcass washed ashore at Peggies, the next point south of Sandon in the northern Illawarra. This was screenshot from a video on an IG account set to private (I've seen the video it's very clearly a shark, and sizable too):

This was also filmed offshore from Bulli yesterday:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Joel Oliver (@joel_oliver7) on

And last week I was shown drone footage of a shark - species unidentified - swimming in clear water just off Coledale Beach.

Not sure what it all adds up to except that Coal Coast surfers need to be aware.

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Wyre commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 7:09am

Faaark. I think the timing with lack of swell and this situation is perfect.

Do you remember the whale that washed up at Sandon ten years ago? Different story- good waves meant plenty of surfers were out there.

I could smell the whale a mile off and the oil was seeping off the rock platform into the water, honestly couldn't believe people were surfing next to it.

But surfers find it hard to resist! I wonder if we would tempt fate seeing footage like this. Drone footage much less prevalent back then.

AndyM's picture
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AndyM commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:53am

I had a bit of a go at tying knots with my legrope, a clove hitch or a constrictor knot (shown below) seems to be the easiest and most realistic to tie in that situation.


upload image


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Obviously not ideal, you'd probably want to get the thin end of the legrope off your board to make it easier to tie and what seems to work at home on a dry leg might be a different story with blood everywhere.

Still potentially better than nothing.

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Lanky Dean commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:31pm

Thanks ! @ andym

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flow commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:54am

That footage is disturbing.

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zenagain commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:04am

That's some chilling viewing.

Agreed, great contributions by all and plenty to digest (pardon the pun). Some good ideas floating around on this thread. (again, apologies)

1173

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AndyM commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:34am

You've clearly had too much coffee this morning Zen.

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Jono commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:25am

Was just having a chat with a mate here in the office and he brought up the point that the recent fatal shark attacks at Salt and Greenmount involved getting bitten in the thigh/groin/buttocks area - which obviously has large arteries and would be pretty difficult to tourniquet even if you had them on the beach quickly. Could be a question for Freeride - but how many recent fatal shark attacks have involved bites to this part of the body? (I guess it's a good ambush location too) Bites to the arms and lower legs would be much easier to tourniquet and massively increase the chance of survival, and you can still live with a missing or injured limb.

So my mate brought up the article about Hadyen Burford's wetsuit made from bite-proof material ( https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2019/11/18/hayden-burford-and-the-shark-proof-wetsuit ) - but he was thinking instead of a full wetsuit (which would be pretty difficult to produce), just having under-shorts made of this material that cover the waist, groin, buttocks and thigh down to above the knee. Eg. like the compression / under-armour stuff that people wear for fitness. This would then cover the section of body most susceptible (possibly, could be wrong here) to fatal shark attacks, and be non-intrusive (could easily wear under boardies or wetty), and much cheaper and easier to produce (rather than a full wetsuit). Obviously you'd still get massive injuries, but the key is to make it a non-fatal injury.

Anyway, the idea sounded pretty good to me, feel free to pick it to bits.

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stunet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:35am

I reckon a short john made from Hayden's material would be best. Short johns are less reliant on stretch than a springy and they also cover the stomach, unlike boardies.

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DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:49am

I recall the fashionistas at STAB ( maybe Reilly back in the day ? ) saying they wouldn’t be caught dead in a short john. Aquatic wrestling suit they called it.

This might test their allegiance to vanity.

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stunet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:51am

A problem easily solved by wearing an unbuttoned floral shirt over the top.

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Lanky Dean commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:24pm

Already pass the pub test Stu ?

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freeride76 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:51am

Sounds like a great idea Jono.

seems almost all attacks are that classic from behind and below ambush bite, which means even a milli-second of warning might mean you get those legs up and out of the way....give it a gob full of fibreglass instead.

didn't look like poor old Nick Slater had any warning whatsoever.

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etarip commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:10am

What are your thoughts on the efficacy of eyes on the bottom of the board? Perhaps toward the tail, rather than the nose (which is where I normally see those stickers).
Seems to be a common technique in the natural world. Might deter an ambush hit ‘some’ of the time?

(I’m drawing them in texta on my boards. Might look a bit silly but I don’t GAF)

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stunet commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:10am

Gonna have a chat with Shanan Worrall on the site next week.

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freeride76 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:30am

Not sure. I just picked up a new board for my wife, day after Nick got taken.

for some reason I didn't purchase the eyes with the board, despite them being on sale there.

I wonder how effective they would be in shallow water where the shark can't really get underneath you to see the eyes.

but who knows. I got swooped by a juvey white in shallow water last winter. It came in straight at me, circled, then went in underneath me, rolled on it's side and eyeballed me.
Water was just deep enough for it to fit.
crystal clear water, bright sunshine, small surf. 10am.

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zenagain commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:46am

Jeez, how did you feel after that?

Bet that got the old heart rate up.

1173

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freeride76 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:12pm

to be totally honest, it wasn't as scary as you'd think. I saw it early (was scanning water looking for mullet schools), saw a flicker out of the corner of my eye and had a very good look at it as it approached.
not cruising, coming in pretty hot. It came with the sun behind me, so perfectly lit.

if it came from the other direction, I would not have seen a thing.

Had the board ready to jam if it hit me.

and had perfect vision on it in shallow water as it circled.

I was surfing high tide rock runners and was literally less than ten metres away from the rocks so was on dry land in less than ten seconds.

had three or four days our of the water and no bad effects when I went back in.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
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Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:22pm

I don't think the science will ever be able to conclusively say one way or the other on this one. It makes sense, it's cheap, and for that reason I've got them on my sharky weather boards. Out of all of the deterrent strategies the Shark Eyes stickers by Shanan Worrell are the only ones we sell on our site. I reckon sharks can smell the fear (I'm not a behavioural ecologist, remember) so I figure if they keep my heart rate down or make me a bit less twitchy it's worth the $20 or $30.

Alot of crew in WA don't really like the electronic deterrents because of the theory that they may deter a shark from having a little taste, it probably won't deter a pointer in torpedo mode, but possibly do attract them closer to the pack (and possibly picking off a non-electronically deterrent equipped surfer). Those points, plus the $500 price tag for the good ones made me back Shanan's product. Dude knows the ocean, that's for sure.

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Terminal commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 8:13am

This is related to your question eatrip:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=shark+"eye+contact"&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D1KguMf8LKs4J

The link isn't working properly for some reason so cut and paste the whole link into your bar thing

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Feralkook commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:02am

What are the good doctor's thoughts on battle field trauma dressings with quick clot, These are very effective and proven, I do remember the first iteration of quick clot had a habit of causing burns to surrounding tissue in some cases but the makers have resolved that problem. Something a lot of people forget is timings on tourniquet application and keeping track of that.

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Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:34pm

We're going to start selling QuikClot in the coming week or so.
I can attest that it is amazing at stopping annoying bleeds when shaving in the morning before work, and studies show that it kicks ass for penetrating trauma that can't be tourniquet'd, like gunshot wounds to the belly. Not really what's going to save a life in the most common types of shark attacks that I reckon people should be able to stop when more and more of this knowledge and gear is rolled out.

Quik Clot's quite expensive, and most people (even experienced emergency doctors and other highly trained critical care personnel) just aren't good at doing the procedure you need to do to make it work - packing wounds. You literally need to feed it into the wound and make sure it gets all the way to the bottom so that blood doesn't keep accumulating underneath it. I've done courses in it have a model trainer so that I can teach people how to do it, but living here in Aus I'd be lying if I said I expect that I'll need to do it on a patient in the next 5 years. I don't think I've worked in an emergency department that has it in the resuscitation room (unless I'm on shift ;)

That being said, I want to include in the public access kits we've got planned.
For those massive "junctional" bites (above the shoulder or hip) where a tourniquet won't work, Quik Clot, artery forceps and a much higher level of medical training might be able to save a few more people. It's a balance between keeping things simple (like these "everyman" kits emphasise) and jumping into the rabbit hole and coming up with a kit that's more comprehensive, but far more complicated and several times the price.

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tango commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 11:27am

There's lots of information online about how to respond to shark incidents, but it would be good to have a go-to that was accepted as the standard which everyone could use.

The paras put this out late 2015 in response to the spate of hits in NSW - https://www.internationalparamediccollege.com.au/first-aid-treatment-for...

I'd have thought that Surfing Aus or state equivalents could provide some concrete guidance on the issue, but can't find anything on their sites.

A resource which does pop up on a search for what to do is this one - https://www.surfingguidetosharks.com - and just wondering if anyone knows much about its development or the people involved?

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Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 5:46pm

Snap Tango thanks for those links!
The first one actually links to a guy in Byron that's selling Shark packs, never knew anyone else was doing it. Glad to see ours is better and cheaper :)

Another link to shark bite data is the Australian Shark Attack File.
They've logged info on fatalities, location, time of day, all of that stuff for people who want to do research. They gave us access to the extended data so that we could incorporate that knowledge into the details of what to put into the kits. Not allowed to share that cause I don't own it, but the general use dataset is here:

https://taronga.org.au/conservation-and-science/australian-shark-attack-...

They've got some other stuff on shark behaviour and minimising bite risk

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tango commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 9:43am

No worries, Jon and well done for the initiative. At the same time, I wish there was no need for it.

I have to say I find the Shark Attack File's general use data set and the summary report of little use as an interested observer. The information is too broad for me, and I suspect many others, to draw anything really meaningful from it. There's a couple of things that really stand out from the information on their page/s:
- the nature of the program focussing only on "attack" which seems to preclude the opportunity to record far more detailed information about general shark interaction. Broadening the reporting system to include other interactions might provide an opportunity to harness the wealth of anecdotal info out there from other surfers, fishers, divers and other users, and use it as an input to the understanding of what is going on. At the moment, most of that information isn't able to be used properly or simply doesn't become known outside the person who experienced the shark and their mates/FB circle.
- a lot of the info on the page is old and doesn't account for the significant changes in recent years, and either presents information from select sources and/or isn't fully accessible eg the predictive model paper. They're a statutory authority under NSW legislation and Given the importance of this information it's disappointing that the Zoo and/or Government haven't seen fit to update it properly or fund new/replicate research to bring the information up to date.

I think surfers could be a very potent lobby group to push for great improvement to the research and knowledge base for shark interaction, but I can't see anywhere that there's publicly available information on any coordination on this.

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flow commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:32pm

I had the same thought this morning etarip. The eyes on the board couldn't hurt.

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etarip commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:07pm

I’m thinking crazy eyes, like that guy in the pub that you see at the bar and think ‘righto, stay away from that nutjob’

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udo commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:46pm

Irish Coast seems to be GWS free ?
Seahound you out there...?

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 6:58pm

North Devon & Cornwall very few of them I believe, as well.

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D-Rex commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 2:52pm

Culling is a much simpler and more likely successful solution IMO. Cut the numbers = fewer attacks. Not rocket science.

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bluediamond commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 4:36pm

Disagree on culling D-Rex but i do understand the passion surrounding this at the moment though and everyone has a different opinion on that. Not really sure on the solution,...like everyone i have ideas but the reality of the technology happening to get those idea's off the ground is unlikely, at least in my lifetime.

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ozracer commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 12:02pm

Thanks bd, as the majority of attacks in this country have resulted from gw sharks can we review at the very least the numbers as they seem to have made a comeback and possibly some. Parts of the Australian surfing coastline may soon resemble the top-end crocodile problem, imagine that. GW attacks will continue as it's in their nature and until science comes up with a proven passive deterrent the old ways should be deployed as once they (GW) sense a threat, they instinctively move on and this has been proven.

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tango commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 1:07pm

Not sure about that, ozracer.

If you go to the data in the shark attack file it's not say anything like " the majority of attacks in this country have resulted from gw sharks" as you claim. Sure, the bastards are having a go, but this is where hyperbole gets everyone into strife. GWS might well be the problem, but it needs a clearer picture.

Here's the 2019 shark attack file summary, and it's worth a quick read.

https://taronga.org.au/sites/default/files/content/pdf/ASAF_2019_Shark_A...

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ozracer commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 6:40pm

Thanks Tango, can we look at the Taronga stats from say 2014 to date as this provides a bigger picture. There are also the other unreported gw bumps and close calls.

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tango commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 8:29pm

Totally agree - I can't see how to access all the data and reports from that Taronga web page but the 2014+ info surely needs to be available and in a cohesive form. Be good to see a report with the info and pulling it all together.

Re the unreported bumps, I said something similar in an earlier response to Jon Cohen today - I think it's a bit further up the forum page here. There must be so many interactions (across a whole number of shark species) that go unreported and become anecdotal evidence which doesn't get taken as seriously as the formal research. Some of it might even get a bit exaggerated...Now, if it could get included in a database/reporting system with consistent parameters it could get analysed/interpreted and be a good contribution to the understanding. Even some form of citizen science would be a good start.

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bluediamond commented Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 7:52pm

Yeah it's a tricky one ozracer and thanks for your comment.
How we count them, apart from the ones that are being tagged is the problem. Are they tagging 70% or 10% of the total East Coast population?? The numbers seem to continue to rise so i'd lean more towards the latter...which is scary.
Having said that, i'm still reluctant on the culling, purely from a moralistic standpoint....my own personal views, rightly or wrongly. But i do completely understand the reasoning behind why people are keen to see a reduction in numbers, and especially after the recent events. And just because i don't agree with culling, it doesn't mean i'm right. I don't think there is a complete right or wrong....but what you believe in.
The question i'd love to have answered is where did the population of 300 White Pointers from down at Cape Town dissappear to all of a sudden over the space of 12 months? And if 300 can dissappear from there due to depletion of food sources, then maybe another 50 can dissappear from here, another 20 from there, another 70 from here and there...due to lack of food,..so they hit the high seas (we all know they can travel a few thousand clicks) word gets out amongst the population (or however they communicate) that there's abundant food supplies on the Oz East coast,.....just hypothesising but, where did that 300 population go???? They can't have just dissappeared. They're protected in Sth Africa too so they haven't been killed off. They have to be somewhere. I wonder where. Maybe they are more endangered on a global scale than we realise, but have run out of ocean to eat in so have gathered in the few spots food is left. But how to know those answers,

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maka2000 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 6:06pm

I prefer to have explosives with me strapped to my both legs and arms so if a shark wants a bite it will have to pay for its meal :D .

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 7:03pm

Great article and comments - the comments really add to it. Although like many others I've had lifesaving training, nothing of this magnitude is really taught in the course (beyond basics of smaller open wounds), so it is excellent to see so many resources mentioned here. It's the first response you never hope to see I guess, but one that is increasing in frequency.

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Distracted commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 8:36pm

With the eye stickers on the bottom of the board, I like the idea, it’s like Magpies, while you’re looking at them they won’t dive. Turn around and, whack.

Bu I think I read a thread on here that Camel? had the black stripes under a board which is meant to break up the shape or something, but he put a mask on, dove under his board , looked up and all he could see was the silhouette... So are the eyes visible from underneath?

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freeride76 commented Friday, 11 Sep 2020 at 9:10pm

depends on the angle of approach/attack.

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Gazbomb commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 7:50am

Hats off for not only thinking about this, but following up with action. I will only comment on the gloves. While there are certainly some highly infectious blood borne diseases out there (e.g. Hep B, Ebola), in such a scenario, the probability of a random victim having one is probably on the same order of magnitude as being bitten by a shark, that is, pretty low. Wasting time getting your hands dry enough to put them on may well make the difference as far as blood loss goes. Oh, but any recent cuts on your own hands may well be softened enough to help such a disease on it's way you might say. Let's back up a bit. The blood is "spurting or pouring out" You've already struggled getting the victim out of the water. You're probably already covered from head to toe in the stuff. Any supposed extra protection you might get now would be similar to what you might get from pouring a bottle of disinfectant into a cess pit. You've already taken a much bigger chance with your life. So good on you.

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southernsealspirit commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 7:54am

Thanks Swellnet and Jon for this thread, it’s really constructive. I’m using pretty much all of the shark deterrents available at the moment. That includes having a RPELA built into any new board, I’ve used the shark shield tail pad as well, also having the camouflage stickers on the bottom of my boards and shark eyes as well. I’m also using the TAC Med shark tourniquet leg rope which is clunky but I’ve got used to it, I like the idea of the tourniquet that slips into the top of your wetsuit, thanks. I’m surfing alone on open beach so if it turns bad I’ve probably got only myself to depend on so getting a tourniquet on myself is what you’ve got to do. Thanks for the video, really good instructions
Thanks Swellnet

Geoffro

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switch commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 6:47pm

Sss, I also use a tacmed torniquet but wear it around my waist with the metal bar at the back - I don't even notice it and there is almost no chance of injury from it in that location I reckon. But it needs to have a long enough band to go around your guts :)

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Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 7:46am

Classic Switch - I tried that too! How did you keep from losing it? I didn't last 2 waves before it was ripped off my waist - end of experiment.

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switch commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 10:44am

Hi Jon this is the one I use: https://tacmedaustralia.com.au/collections/supplies/products/sof-tactica.... It doesn't have velcro but a metal clip so I put it around my waist and do it up and lock the bar in the triangle. In your video I noticed yours has velcro so maybe they are slightly different. The challenge is sometimes getting it undone behind me is fiddly when I practice so I am hoping all would go well under the pressure if a real situation (smooth = fast?). More practice definitely required!

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spencie commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 7:59am

I once did a 2 day Safety training course. Can't remember how much it cost but am thinking how useful to the whole community if the Federal/State governments would chip in and provide most of the population with current training. Surely would benefit Australia as a whole.

easterly

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D-Rex commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 8:54am

It's a sad day when you have to consider giving your kid a Shark Bite First Aid Kit for a pressie. 'Happy Birthday, Johnnie, stuff this down your wettie so when a GWS tears your leg off you'll be able to save your life. BTW have a fun surf today'. FFS the shark huggers have got a lot to answer for.

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bluediamond commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 10:13am

I would argue humans have a whole lot more to answer for.

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D-Rex commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 1:54pm

I think you may need to re-read my post.

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bluediamond commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 2:12pm

Nah got it the first time. Probably worded response poorly. Anyway, probably a topic for another post, (maybe a new forum?) and not take away from the super constructive feedback on here. Not discrediting your thoughts either and agree with some of what you said regarding giving it as a gift (?!). Just have a different opinion on the bigger picture, but yeah, better left for another place. Have a good day.

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shanan_onshore commented Saturday, 12 Sep 2020 at 2:34pm

Hey guys n girls,
A study done relevant to Shark Eyes, and the effectiveness of eyes as a deterrent

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/arstechnica.com/science/2020/08/study-co...

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freeride76 commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 9:11am

thats interesting, cheers .

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simba commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 11:04am

Yep great article ...ive been painting eyes...circles ..on the bottom of my boards for a few years now but am now putting them towards the fin area as it seems as said above that most attacks are around the fins...a mate is putting eyes on his fins.....makes sense and nothing to lose.

simba

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simba commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 4:04pm
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GoodDays commented Sunday, 13 Sep 2020 at 9:46pm

I've had a Shark Shield on my log for over a year now. I only use it at certain waves (metro - only around feeding times, SW Aus - everytime).

I bought it after the chopper called us in at Yalls a few years back. They saw a 4.5 White darting between the two packs of surfers. A very quick paddle indeed!

The testing at Neptune Islands seemed pretty thorough, and the peace of mind factor is worth the cash.

Jon Cohen-_-Calm As...'s picture
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Jon Cohen-_-Cal... commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 7:53am

I hear ya GoodDays - peace of mind is priceless.
The chopper sounds are daunting when they start to hover, especially when you find out afterwards that something ended up going down.

I still haven't seen any robust "science" that I would trust on this stuff though. Too many variables, too many different species, changing patterns of human / shark interaction, etc.

I put a Rpela in a sharky weather board when I was living in the southwest and don't regret it, but am pretty happy supporting the Shark Eyes deterrent strategy as a much lower cost, equally feasible solution.

In my mind both electronic and visual deterrents are very much based observational data, and will never be able to gather enough data to publish reliable, robust experimental data in the classic sense of the word "science". I'm sure Shanan will have lots of interesting facts from his vast experience when he chats with Stu later this week - the man has definitely done his time in the water!

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Ray Shirlaw commented Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 12:15pm

Makes a hell of a lotta sense minimising the chance of a bite in the first place. Dr Huveneers has observed more attacking WhiteSharks than probably anyone else in Australia,and he does surf. Gotta wonder what he would use if he had to surf in sharky waters. Or do we.

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Bluedreams commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:12am

Hi Jon and all. I have thought a lot about this too. I am a doctor and keen surfer I am pretty paranoid about the whole shark thing, so keen to reduce my odds as much as possible. I have been surfing sharkier spots - ie Straddie (paddle over), Byron, Fingal, with a tourniquet around each limb for a few months now. I got the idea from a bloke who was a medic in Iraq and hopped into an armored vehicle with 4 soldiers who all sat and adjusted their tourniquets on each limb. He wasn’t wearing any! They explained that if they hit an IED then they may lose a limb but would have a chance at survival. He couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was doing there.
The CAT tourniquets are bulky (long tail) and require plenty of practice to apply quickly. They are difficult to tighten and lock, especially with one hand and particularly when wet. I can’t imagine myself attempting to apply one in the heat of the moment during a great white attack, with a shark in the water. I have just found an alternate version - the “omna marine tourniquet”. They are the same manufacturer who make the leg rope tourniquet. They have a ratchet mechanism and sit pretty flush. You can buy a set of 4 online for about the price of a set of fins. I personally think that one of these on each limb offers the best chance of survival. Having said that I made the mistake of googling shark attack injuries and it’s fair to say that in some cases, particularly bites to the groin, buttocks and torso, that these are fatal injuries and nothing would help save possibly a Kevlar wetsuit.
Fingers crossed none of us have to test this out, but there have been a huge number of sightings where I live recently, and the two fatal attacks at Salt / Greeny, so the odds seem higher than usual right now. Stay safe