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.”
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.