Sharkbanz protection from sharks.
Highly publicized Sharbanz (shark repellant bands) are now in stock at Force Kite & Wake. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of these stylish wrist/ankle bands and stay safe in the water.
Where were you when Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark? At Force we were busily preparing for another day on the water when shockwaves rippled through the entire watersports community. The worry that it could literally happen to anyone became starkly clear and with that our favorite sports were forever changed a little. Coupled with this year’s high-profile spate of East Coast shark attacks and you can understand why many decided not to enter the water for a while. The good news is that since the early summer things have calmed down and as we head into fall (often touted as the very best season for ocean activities) people are returning to their passions with a little less trepidation. Nonetheless the slowing in “attacks” has not had any effect on the sharks, and since prevention is better than cure, it might be a good time to consider picking up one of these cool devices and staying safer than before.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sharkbanz essentially works by disrupting the electromagnetic field which sharks use to sense prey and other creatures in the water column. This confuses them and turns them away from you. Interestingly without highly evolved electroreception sharks would be unable to hunt effectively in murky waters, or at night, and therefore would probably not have lived for millions of years as the world’s top pelagic predators.
Focussed around their snout and mouth are hundreds of little pits (electro-receptors, scientifically known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini), which sense minute alterations in the ambient electromagnetic field. When this “normal” field is disrupted, sharks can be attracted. As mammals, we also have our own electromagnetic signal and as we swim, surf, paddle, dive etc. we give off a signature which 99% of the time leads to no reaction from our dusky friends.
Every now again, however, mainly in low light or dim water conditions, sharks can get confused and, using only electroreception, move in to take a closer look. It is at this point that a Sharkbanz band works to stop an unsavory nip. It confuses the shark and sends it swimming in the opposite direction. To see the technology clearly in action with Sharkbanz’s very own Bernie (#savebernie) please
WHAT ABOUT THE SHARKS?
The good news for sharks is that, like us, they are not affected either. Sharkbanz describes the shark’s response as “a little like someone shining a bright light in your eyes”; It’s annoying (and turns you away) but you soon recover. In fact, Sharkbanz teamed up with a chemist and a marine biologist from Shark Defense to make sure all parties were looked after properly. After all, with the extensive coverage of this year’s attacks, it is vital to tell the other side of the story, which is that millions of sharks die annually through fishing activities related to finning. Sharkbanz’s positive conservation stance, therefore, is awesome to see and if you are interested CLICK HERE for a video which highlights the importance of having apex predators and the clearly resulting trophic cascades in our wild ecosystems.
WORD ON THE STREET
So is all this hype really going to stop you being bitten when you next head out for a surf or kite, paddle or swim. Certainly the evidence suggests so and clearly Sharkbanz are testing daily to make sure they can truly stand behind their product. If you research these little bands in greater detail it is clear they don’t stop 100% of bites, but interestingly they do work in a more robust way when more and more people are wearing them.
Marine Biologist and Sharkbanz expert Dr. Patrick Rice ‘says that the effect of Sharkbanz is amplified if many people in a group of swimmers or surfers are wearing them. As more people choose to wear Sharkbanz, the more everyone’s risk is reduced. An approaching shark will be deterred sooner, keeping you, your friends, and sharks safe to enjoy another carefree day in the ocean’
Force’s very own Stan Radev and pro kite coach Ed Holden now wear them daily. Stan said, “After wearing the band the second time I forgot it was on my ankle. The peace of mind knowing that you have a product that sharks really don’t like at all is great. I cut down the strap on mine to make the fit perfect. A great product for anyone who plays in the ocean, a must for those of us who work in it all day!
You can also access Sharkbanz’s Instagram for a tirade of praise towards this simple and super cool little device. Force Kite & Wake is extremely lucky to be one of the very few retailers in the country to have these clever bands, and since the founders of the company have strong Kiawah and South Carolina roots it seemed sensible to support a growing local business which, like us has its heritage in enjoying and caring for our oceans.
After all as the founders of Sharkbanz quite rightly point out. “Will you be the one without it?”