Shark Deterrent Tech - How Sharkbanz is Making Surfing Safer
Demystifying Shark Deterrent Technology
Shark interactions are an unfortunate reality for ocean users. Though the chances of getting bitten are slim, it only takes one encounter to upend life forever.
That's why surfers and ocean lovers alike are seeking solutions to lower the odds. Enter shark deterrent technology - innovative devices designed to make you less appealing to sharks.
But how exactly does it work? Is the science sound? We went straight to the source and interviewed Sharkbanz founder Nathan Garrison to find out.
The Origin Story Behind Sharkbanz
Garrison's journey to developing shark deterrents is deeply personal. After his close childhood friend was attacked while surfing in South Carolina, Garrison's view of the ocean shifted. More local shark bites compounded his unease.
He yearned for a solution to feel safer in the water without compromising performance. When none existed, he made it his mission to create an affordable, effective shark deterrent product.
In 2014, he and his father founded Sharkbanz. Their first product was the Sharkbanz wristband, which uses patented magnetic technology. Let's examine how it works.
The Science Behind Magnetic Shark Deterrents
Sharks have special sensing organs that detect electrical fields generated by the movement of living things. This helps them hunt prey.
Permanent, powerful magnets inside Sharkbanz bands and pods overwhelm sharks' electro sensory system with an unpleasant sensation. This signals potential danger, so sharks steer clear.
But magnets alone aren't detectable from a distance. "It's impossible according to the laws of physics for that to happen," says Garrison.
Rather, a shark swimming by creates an electrical field through electromagnetic induction. When this interacts with the band's static magnet field so close by, sharks sense something unpleasant, causing them to turn away.
Rigorous Scientific Sharkbanz Testing
With a product premised on making surfers safer, Sharkbanz insists on scientific rigor. Garrison summarized key studies on their deterrent tech:
- Hawaii: NOAA researchers saw a 65% reduction in fish taken by sharks when using magnetic fishing gear. This demonstrates the tech deters even hungry, focused sharks.
- Bahamas: Over 1,200 interactions with mainly bull sharks showed an 85% avoidance rate with the bands. Zero bites occurred on baited dummies wearing bands.
- Western Australia: A year-long government study on bottom fisheries saw a 65-70% reduction in fish lost to various shark species.
- South Africa: In a simulated kelp forest, great whites and bull sharks showed significant avoidance of magnetic barrier strands.
- Florida & Hawaii: Ongoing NOAA research is further evaluating efficacy for fisheries.
Additionally, Sharkbanz cites hundreds of customer testimonials reporting successful deterrents across the globe. Science supports the magnetic tech making surfers less appealing.
Using Sharkbanz Bands and Pod Safely
While generally safe, Sharkbanz does come with precautions. The bands should be kept 2+ feet from electronics and avoided by those with medical implants like pacemakers.
Stick to the guidelines and you can surf with confidence knowing the bands have been rigorously tested. For even more peace of mind, pair them with other shark safety strategies:
- Avoid surfing at dawn/dusk when risk is highest.
- Don't surf near seal colonies or river mouths where sharks feed.
- Avoid erratic splashing and stay calm if you spot a shark.
Enjoy the Ocean More Peacefully
Ocean lovers who want an added precaution without potential ecosystem impacts of shark nets can turn to proven magnetic shark deterrents.
Compared to the astronomical odds of a lottery jackpot, reducing your shark bite risk drastically improves the odds in your favor. Surfing carries inherent risks, but innovative technology like Sharkbanz allows us to stack the deck towards safety.
We thank Garrison for demystifying this fascinating technology. For HSS customers seeking science-backed shark bite deterrents, we proudly carry Sharkbanz products in our Hawaii Surf Shop and online.
Let us know if you have any other questions about this innovative gear. We're always happy to share insights that help our community enjoy the ocean safely. Just remember, sharks ultimately belong in the ocea - we are the visitors in their home.
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