Tired of getting eating by Great Whites sharks at one of Newcastle’s 29 surf breaks like Susan Gilmore, Point Impossible or Goondiwindi? You can fight back with Shark Proof wetsuits and surfboards.
Hamish Jolly is based in Perth and runs Shark Mitigation Systems. I first heard about Hamish after watching his TED talk on Shark Repelling Technology, which he has subsequently turned into Wetsuits and Surfboards. Here is an excerpt about the original concept:
When we began this process, we were looking, it was about three years ago, and we’d just had the first two fatal shark attacks in Western Australia, and by chance, in a previous role, I happened to be having dinner with Harry Butler. Now Harry Butler, who most Australians would know is a famous naturalist, had spent a lot of time in the marine environment. Harry Butler is a precursor, if you like, to the late Steve Irwin. When I asked him about what the solution to the problem might be, the answer was quite surprising. He said, “Take a black wetsuit, band it in yellow stripes like a bumblebee, and you’ll be mimicking the warning systems of most marine species.” I didn’t think about that much at the time, and it wasn’t until the next three fatal shark attacks happened, and it caused me to think, maybe there’s some merit to this idea. And I turned to the web to see if there might be some clues.
The TED talk is fascinating, basically they have found two designs that are effective against sharks.
1. Different Shades of Blue
The shark has difficulty with depth perception here and the target is basically invisible.
2. Black and White Stripes.
This mimics numerous marine sea creatures that are dangerous to sharks such as the Sea Snake with distinctive Black and Whtie stripes. Hence the sharks stay away.
Also check out this Indonesian Mimic Octopus turning itself into several differential creatures, one of which is the Sea Snake to ward off predators.
Have you surfed them all? – The Wedge, The Spit, Indo’s, The Reef, Nobbys Bank, The Groper, Cowrie Hole, Flat Rock, Newcastle Point, Shark Alley, Divider Rock, South Newcastle, Susan Gilmore, Point Impossible, Goondiwindi, Bar Reef, Bar Beach, South Bar, The Cliff, Dixon Park, Pogo’s, Merewether, The Rocks, The Ladies, The Bombie, Sailors Rock, The Racetrack, Point X 🙂