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How My Skepticism Was Cured and I Was Convinced of the Value of Electromagnetic Shark Deterrents

Discover the Power of Shark Deterrent Bracelets


Sharks 🦈 have always been one of the scariest critters in the ocean, at least for surfers. We spent hours every day floating on the surface of the water, with our legs and arms splayed out from the sides of our boards, looking like big turtles or seals—both of which are preferred food sources for large sharks such as tigers. While sharks generally don’t want to actually eat surfers, they often mistake us for lunch, which is why shark attacks do happen on occasion. Considering the fact that we are already pursuing our passion and sport in a foreign, aquatic environment that takes us out of our comfort zone, it’s no wonder that the threat of a surprise attack from an unseen predator emerging from the darkness below tends to freak us out!

Shark deterrent products have been around for decades, largely fueled by our collective fear of the “man in the gray suit.” To be honest, I have been pretty skeptical of these shark deterrents for most of my life, writing them off as trendy gimmicks. But recently I was chatting with a friend of mine who spent his entire life in the water as a professional surfer, fisherman, and all-around waterman, and he told me a story that made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about shark bands.

This friend was out fishing recently and struggling to pull fish into his boat fast enough to prevent sharks from grabbing them. Everything he would land a fish, a tiger shark would come up and get it just as the fish was about to be landed. So, he decided to do an experiment. The fisherman had a Sharkbanz band on his wrist, and the next time he saw a tiger shark coming up to grab a fish that was on a hook at the surface of the water, he slid his wrist band down the fishing line. The band hit the water just above the shark, and the shark immediately turned around and swam away, leaving the bloody, thrashing fish on the hook!

My friend was pretty blown away by this. He had been wearing a Sharkbanz wrist band for a few months, but never really knew if it worked. But to see a large, aggressive tiger shark turn its back on an easy, bloody, dying fish because of the presence of a few pieces of rare earth metals convinced him. In fact, he ended up ordering a bunch more Sharkbanz for his friends and family!


Sharkbanz makes a wide range of shark deterrent products, ranging from wearable wrist and ankle bands to fishing equipment. They have even tested surf leashes equipped with the Sharkbanz technology! The way it works is that the deterrents emit an electromagnetic field that interferes with sharks’ ampullae of Lorenzini, which is a system of electromagnetic sensors that sharks and rays use to navigate and hunt. These sensors are so sensitive that sharks can literally sense the heartbeat of fish a large distance away from them. When sharks come into contact with the electromagnetic field that is emitted by Sharkbanz technology, it overloads their senses, sort of like if someone shone a bright light in your eyes while you were sitting in the darkness. Just as you would naturally close your eyes and turn your head away, sharks naturally and quickly move away to avoid this disturbing electromagnetic field.

This electromagnetic field produced by Sharkbanz products are not harmful to humans, fish, or even sharks. They are simply annoying to sharks, which is great, because we don’t actually want to harm these apex predators—we simply want them to stay away from us. Apex predators sit at the top of the food chain in their respective ecosystems, so they are very important for the regulation of the surrounding environment. If sharks are killed and their populations are diminished, the fish, turtles, and other sea creatures they feed on will proliferate uncontrollably. These oversize populations will then eat too much algae, coral, seaweed, and other food sources in the ocean, throwing the ecosystem completely out of whack. This is why a non-damaging deterrent such as the one made by Sharkbanz is so valuable. Not only does it keep us safe (and protect the fish we are catching from being stolen by sharks), but it does so in a way that does not adversely affect the ecosystem.

Sharkbanz have been tested on a wide variety of sharks, including aggressive species such as hammerheads and bull sharks. The results have been universally consistent—test subjects that are wearing Sharkbanz products are avoided by sharks, even if they are filled with bloody chum. Meanwhile, control subjects that don’t have Sharkbanz products on them are consistently taken by the sharks.

The results are pretty clear and speak for themselves—and they are convincing enough that they have cured me of my skepticism. If you want to remain safe from sharks while surfing, paddling, swimming, snorkeling, or even fishing, a Sharkbanz shark deterrent is a great place to start. Although they aren’t 100 percent guaranteed to prevent shark interactions, they are scientifically proven to be a deterrent, and they are a lot better than not using anything at all.

Hawaiian South Shore has always been concerned about the health of the ocean and the various creatures that live in it—including sharks—but we also work hard to help our customers maximize their water time and enjoy surfing to their fullest potential. This is why we are excited to stock Sharkbanz products at our shop. We see a lot of value in keeping surfers safe while also protecting sharks and the ocean ecosystem, and we think you will too!