The Surfer’s Guide to Shark Repellants

Because who doesn't a want a little reassurance in these bleak, bloody, attack-riddled days…

In the thirty-ish years I’ve spent playing the ocean I’ve never actually seen a shark while surfing. They’re there, of course.

Pop a mask on your head and go for a spear and you’ll typically see one or two per session. They’re neat animals and they prefer to keep their distance. The first few times you see one creeping up to check out your catch can be a bit nerve-wracking, but once you realize you can chase them off more or less effortlessly the fear factor diminishes quite a bit.

Rocking a pair of three-foot long fins, combined with a four-or-five-foot long speargun, the average person creates a huge silhouette in the water and, like all predators, sharks prefer easy prey.

But that hasn’t stopped a plethora of snake oil salesman from appealing to the cowardice of those who aren’t accustomed to spending any real amount of time in the water. Each product, without exception, is careful to state that they only mitigate attacks, clever use of language to be sure.

“Yeah, dude, they totally work all the time. Except for when they don’t.”

Sharksbanz:

This one goes first, because it’s my favorite. Harnessing the power of magnets, this bracelet totally repels sharks. Except for when it doesn’t. And it doesn’t work with Whites or big Tigers. But, still, magnets do repel things. Other magnets, for one. And maybe sharks are made of magnets?

(See the Sharksbanz here!) 

Shark Shield: The idea behind this one is kind of sound. Sharks do hunt by detecting electromagnetic fields, so overloading their ampullae of Lorenzini might work to drive them off.  Only problem is, if the current isn’t strong enough it’s just as likely to attract a shark as drive one off.  Seeing as how sharks bite the shit out of underwater cables all the time, you’re gonna need a ton of juice running through the thing.

Bonus fact: The Shark Shield will shock the shit out of you. Repeatedly. They even say so on their website. So, if you’re into getting randomly shocked and are looking for a shark repellent device of dubious efficacy, this is the product for you!

(See the Shark Shield here!)

Shark Spray:

It worked for Batman, so it must be gold! This stuff smells like rotten shark, and everyone knows that sharks don’t eat other sharks. No sirree, sharks have very delicate constitutions, and they find the very notion of cannibalism appalling.

(See Shark Spray here!)

Shark wetsuit:

Spearos love their cool camouflage wetsuits and there are a ton of companies that put out some really kick-ass prints that mimic either reef or fish coloration. They work pretty well too, if you’re hiding from other humans.

The only problem here is that sharks are not primarily sight-based predators, and even if they were, humans thrash about in the water like dying hippos. In order for camo to work it really needs to be paired with stealth, something beyond the ability of us bald apes.

(See the Shark wetsuit here!)

Speargun:

A speargun won’t keep a shark from approaching you, but if you’ve got a pair of brass balls and a strong resolve to keep your catch a good poke from a pointy spear will make a shark keep its distance.

Not that I’m advocating strapping a speargun to your back before paddling out. I just think this is a really cool video and saw an opportunity to share it.


The most generous man in America surfs!

And also skis!

I have been known to chuckle GoPro’s way, even though I part own the company, but I should stop and not just because I’m getting rich off my six shares, though I am (up $1.15 a share). No. I should stop because CEO Nick Woodman is the most generous man on earth.

It has been recently uncovered, in the Bloomberg Reports, that the “Mad Billionaire” honored a freshman in college word of mouth promise to his UC San Diego roommate. The promise was not for a hamburger or even a cheeseburger. The promise was for 10% of the proceeds he received from the sale of the company’s shares. Do you know how much that is? $229 million dollars is how much.

His roommate, Neil Dana, still works for GoPro in the music department, or somewhere, but maybe not for much longer.

And it is truly amazing to give someone $229 million dollars based on a word of mouth promise. What did Neil Dana do ten years ago? I have no idea and neither does anyone else but for $229 million dollars anything would have been worthwhile. Anything at all.

Also uncovered in the same report is that Nick Woodman is the highest paid CEO in America. He made $285.3 million dollars in 2014. That is more than Ralph Lauren, Robert Iger and James Dimon. And they said “action sports” was in decline. Pssssshhhhhht. Kooks.


Exclusive: The future of surf air is here!

Will you cheer when John John throws this down?

Surf has sucked off skate for so so so many years, the airs, the names, the importance, and surf is better for it. Look at Filipe’s amazing punctuation on the Rio Pro. Without skate it would have been a pretty good top turn. No more.

So then, surfers, watch this amazing hip transfer as done by Pedro Barros just a few hours ago and filmed by Sean Sullivan at the Vans Pool Party. Watch the height. Watch the lack of care soaring over cement. Watch the clean landing. Watch the crowd go bananas. And wait for it to translate into surf. It is going to be amazing.


The two swingers in the front are the father-and-son owners of Taiwan's Sheico Group, the world's biggest manufacturer of sports wetsuits. Cute guy in the back is a model. | Photo: Rashley Pon/Global Assignment by Getty Images for Forbes

Meet the Taiwanese Geniuses Who Make Your Wetsuits!

That Rip Curl Flash Bomb? These guys invented it!

Are you like me? Do you think it’s flashy American and Australian know-how that gets our suits just so?

You are so wrong and maybe racist too!

Taiwan’s Sheico Group has got their paws all over the wetsuits market. Biggest maker of sports wetsuits in the world. Closing in on half-a-billion US dollars a year in trade.

Billabong’s Xcel, O’Neill , Quiksilver and Rip Curl all use Sheico.

According to Forbes Asia,

“Five years ago Sheico was the first to deliver the material for Rip Curl’s Flash-Bomb series, validating its claim to be the world’s fastest-drying wet suit. Within two minutes 90% of water is drained through the inner layer of the suit or heated up by body temperature to give the wearer a greater sense of comfort. Years of exclusive rights to the component were granted to Rip Curl for its competitive edge. ‘At this point Sheico is making the best wet suits in the world…. They are definitely the guy,’ says Greg Wade, president of Xcel in California. What’s amazing, he continues, is that Sheico contract-manufactures for various top brands but manages to customize components so that each can have its own look and feel.”

Who knew!

(read the full story here.) 


Do you dream of working for Surfline, the #1 surf website in the world? Who doesn't! Here's how!

Do you dream of working for Surfline?

Get a "college" degree in surf!

Jimmicane, Surfing Magazine’s wonderful personality/photo-editor/photographer, loves all things Florida. He loves the Jacksonville Jaguars like they are a real football team. He loves Florida State University like it is a real institution of higher learning. He loves the state’s population like every single man, woman, child is not clinically insane. And now he can love that the Florida Institute of Technology offers Surf Engineering Analysis for college credit!

That’s right. If you are like Jimmy and don’t mind living with face eating zombies, you can move to Melbourne, just east of Orlando, and major in Ocean Engineering and take classes in Surf Engineering Analysis. What is it? The course description says that it “focuses on the physics of waves in the surf zone. Students design a field experiment on their own to collect data about force balances, buoyancy and hydrodynamic drag.”

The associate professor who designed the course, Robert Weaver, says, “Ocean engineering has one of the highest graduate incomes of any of the engineering disciplines. I’m hoping that this class and this program can help play a role in dismantling the old surfer stigma that associates surfers with being aimless beach bums.”

Students get a Rip Curl GPS surf watch (at cost), two customized surfboards with special cutout boxes for measurement instruments and maybe a GoPro. Then they go to the beach and surf and let all their stuff work. Class jargon calls it “movement-based data.”

I don’t know what else they do but I hope they drive fancy cars, once graduating, and go to work for Surfline…those dirty, rich sex freaks.

For more information, and how to enroll, go here!