Shark Repellant Surf Gear: Friend or Faux? Part III
Attending industry events like the Surf Expo, we saw some interesting options for shark repellant gear. From specialized items to strap to the bottom of your board that give off a sonic sound, to shark repellant wetsuits and board paint, to ankle straps, there was a lot to consider. They all tend to be a good chunk of change, ranging from about $100 to well over $500 and can be found online and in surf and SCUBA stores. The ones that came up with our research, and were mentioned in a surfer.com article from 2014 were the ESDS ankle strap and the Shark Shield kick pad attachment, along with Rpela, which attaches to the bottom of your board. All of them promise to do the same thing, repel sharks that are in your vicinity while you’re enjoying the surf.
The Shark Shield got our attention because they claim to have the most proven and researched shark repellant options out there, and have different models for surfers, divers, and sport fishermen. It IS a more expensive option at $699, but it comes with the module and a new tail pad specially designed to be used with it. Shark Shield’s Freedom+ Surf is a small module that sits beneath your board's tail pad and repels sharks using electricity that agitates the shark into leaving.
The Shark Shield is partnered with Ocean & Earth to make the tail pad and module, and it is easily moved to other boards, as long as you're using the special tail pad mount for it. Shark Shield claims to not cause any drag or change the way you have to surf, and from the looks of it, it seems much less intrusive than the NoShark since your board is the one "wearing" it, not you! It's battery life is lower than the NoShark, but at 5-6 hours you DO still get a decent day's surf in. Another nice thing about Shark Shield is that is has no lasting effects on the sharks, because at the end of the day, we do still love our oceanic friends.
If we were you, we'd check it out and save up those cupholder pennies for one!