Sharks! Surfers’ Greatest Fear
We all know and accept that sharks are out there with us when we are surfing. Most present no danger to surfers, but every break has one or two species to be aware of like tigers, bulls and whites. Personally I don’t think about it too much when I’m with a group, but its all I think about when I’m surfing alone. But like Peter pointed out, it is insanely more likely we’ll get into a car accident on the way to the beach than be attacked by a shark while surfing. Still, the fear lingers.
Yesterday a friend sent me a series of photos of a white shark breaching at Sunset Blvd. (near Santa Monica, CA) including the image to the right. I have surfed right where these pictures were taken. So, when I saw these photos, I peed myself a little. (Did you?) Immediately I started cruising the Internets for prevention techniques and tips (like I always do every Shark Week).
Usually there is nothing new out there. All the usual info comes up: don’t surf alone, don’t surf in murky water, don’t surf at dawn or dusk, don’t surf where people are fishing, don’t wear contrasting/shiny clothing… My favorite tip that I always see is, “don’t swim while bleeding.” Shark threat or no, I think that one is just a given. But honestly, if we followed all those rules, when would we surf? And again, stats are on our side. The chances of being attacked are extremely slim, and the chances of that attack being fatal are super mega extremely slim. But this time, I found something new.
Take heart surfers! SeaChange Technology has developed a shark deterrent system called Shark Shield. Better still, they have a Shark Shield product developed specifically for surferboards. The basic premise of the Shark Shield is that it emits an electrical wave pulse from the device. As we all know, sharks are uniquely adept at picking up electrical pulses. The Shark Shield essentially jams their senses. Imagine if you decided to attach someone, but when you got close your victim started started blowing an air horn in your face over and over again. You’d sally off and find a victim without an air horn. And thusly, the shark will back off.
Check out this video:
[youtube width=”570″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjtAwlvgNpQ[/youtube]
See all of Randy Wright’s photos at his site, LASurfPix.com.
This just in from a Tweep – Shark Shield eaten by Great White: http://ow.ly/t0qL
There are a lot of recent updates at Shark Research Committee about the sightings near Sunset Blvd.