Australian surfing legend Tom Carroll has joined Shark Shield as its surfing ambassador.
The Australian-based Shark Shield makes the world’s only scientifically proven and independently tested electronic shark deterrent and is delighted the two-time world champion has agreed to endorse its products. Tom especially appreciates the fact that Shark Shield believes sharks deserve a place in the world’s oceans and that its electronic deterrents reduce interactions with humans without causing sharks lasting damage.
Tom said: “I have encountered marine creatures of all types and sizes during my 45-plus years of surfing and I’m always struck by their beauty, big sharks and all! “Sharks need our protection and I believe Shark Shield should be applauded for taking the health of this ancient species into consideration and at the same time as providing protection to humans who enter their territory. “This is a win-win situation — for surfers, divers and sharks.”
Tom will also be involved with the design of Shark Shield’s latest innovation aimed at keeping the waters safe — an electronic deterrent that leverages the surfboards removable fin and plug system, without impacting surfing performance. The new device will also be designed for stand-up paddle boards, which are increasing in popularity around the world. Tom Carroll was inducted into Australia’s Hall of Fame in 1992 and is one of the best surfers the country has produced. When surfing became a professional sport, he was recognised as a pioneer — not least for introducing scientifically based training principles.
Shark Shield Managing Director, Lindsay Lyon said he was thrilled that a surfer of Tom Carroll’s calibre had agreed to join the company. “Tom is admired by everyone connected with the sport and it is a great pleasure to have a surfer with his reputation help us promote safety not only in surfing but also in stand-up paddle boarding, diving and kayak fishing,” Lindsay said. Shark Shield markets a range of different devices purposely designed for these aquatic sports.
They are based on more than two decades of research by leading experts, including the KwaZulu-Natal Shark Board of South Africa, and are used by the Australian navy, police, the US Coast Guard and professional divers around the world. Shark Shield’s electronic deterrents work on the principle that all chondrichthyes — sharks, rays, skates and chimeras — possess ampullary receptors in their heads which are used to find food, communicate and find a mate. These receptors are tuned to low-frequency fields but only operate when in close proximity with food — or a diver.
The Shark Shield deterrent uses salt water as the conductor to emit an electromagnetic field from between two electrodes on the deterrent to disturb the shark’s receptors. “Importantly, there are no known long-term adverse effects to the shark from the electrical charge but the discomfort is enough for it to deter a shark,” explained Lindsay. “Off the success of our SURF7 product, we have now designed a solution that can be broadly adopted across all surfboards, including short boards and performance boards.” Not only will the new patented deterrent protect the surfer, but multiple surfers in a single break will create a virtual electronic shark barrier. The surfers will appear like an electronic mine field to sharks so all beach goers will benefit from this innovation. “Shark Shields’ new surfboard shark deterrent will have no impact on current surfboard manufacturing or the shaping design processes, and zero to minimal impact on surfboard performance,” Lindsay added.
He said the innovation leveraged the surfboards fins as electrodes, and used the fin plug systems to electrically connect the electrodes (fins) to the power source mounted in the kicker of surfboards grip pad. The miniaturised electronics are user-replaceable with a four-hour battery life and will clip in and out of the grip pad kicker so surfers can easily move the device between boards. The fins can also be moved between boards in the same fashion as today.
Shark Shield is also announcing it is raising $1.4 million to drive current product sales into the US markets, and launch the new surfing product. To support growing sales and increased interest in the US, Shark Shield’s General Manager and joint owner, Amanda Wilson, is heading home to the US to open a new office in St Petersburg, Florida in May 2014. Lindsay Lyon said sentiment in Australia was turning in favour of finding solutions which would accommodate humans sharing sharks’ territory safely.
“Shark Shield is working to make the oceans a safer place and I firmly believe our deterrents will help achieve that goal,” he said. Tom Carroll agrees and has a message for surfers and stand-up paddle boarders. “Join me in working with this solution,” he urged. “It’s simply a win-win.”