Shark sightings and attacks have been increasingly highlighted in the media and a number of attacks, including fatal ones, have occurred within Australia over the past five years.
Manly resident and dedicated surfer, Bradley Hook, decided last year to investigate methods and products that reduce the risk of attack for ocean users. Having been involved in the surf industry for many years as a photographer and journalist, his research lead him to a surprising US invention called Shark Camo. Unlike the more expensive electronic shark repellent devices, Shark Camo employs a natural, low-tech approach to neutralising the attack response in sharks.
Surfd.com Editor, Brad, gives it a thorough testing
The product comes in the form of a 48 inch sticker featuring a specially designed striped pattern that mimics the colouration of a number of fish which are not prey for sharks. These fish include the remora, pilot fish, sea snake and lion fish. Scientists agree that sharks use vision as their primary sense when within striking distance of potential prey and so this patented sticker, placed on the underneath of surfboards, helps repel sharks from executing a mistaken identity or “bump and bite” curiosity attack.
After undergoing extensive testing in extremely sharky locations, including Seal Island South Africa, the product was released to rave reviews from the US media and was even featured on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2006.
Bradley Hook decided that bringing Shark Camo to Australia would be an excellent way to help reduce the risk of shark attack whilst giving surfers and their families peace of mind. He is expecting the product to be popular not only with surfers but also bodyboarders, kayak users, windsurfers and kiteboarders – who can all cut the sticker to fit their respective boards. Brad, who is a web designer by trade, designed a website to help people obtain Shark Camo in Australia quickly and easily. It is located at www.sharkcamo.com.au and features secure online shopping.
Other products soon to be available on the website are specially designed Shark Camo transfers that are included in the surfboard during manufacture and lycra suits featuring the distinct striped design. The lycra suits also protect wearers from UV damage and jellyfish stings, so are a great investment for all ocean users.
Brad says, “Shark Camo is awesome, I am really excited that there is a product that is so affordable, natural and yet is based on extensive scientific research.”
“Sharks are rightfully at the top of the marine food chain but humans are not their natural prey. If we can help sharks avoid attacking us by showing them that we are not natural prey, then that is a fantastic way of ensuring we can all co-exist within the ocean environment.”
“I hope that Shark Camo gives all surfers, regardless of age and experience, the opportunity to enjoy surfing even more than they already do. It’s an additional safety precaution you can take when entering the ocean.”