Casey Flynn Flynn 1
Sunday November 21, 2004
This past weekend marked the first use of an electronic shield to protect surfers against sharks by the organizers of an Australian night surfing competition. Without the use of this shield, sharks may have found the surfers to be an easy meal. This form of protection is also coupled with conventional shark nets to provide a double punch defense for surfers.
The Globe Pro Junior Teams Challenge 2005, located off the Gold Coast of Australia, utilized night lights from Sydney's 2000 Olympics to illuminate the event. However it was feared by organizers that the lights would attract bait fish and other assorted marine life, and sharks along with them. A surfer isn't much of a challenge for a shark to take a bite out of. In order to protect surfers event coordinators implemented a series of devices that emit a field of shark-repelling electronic waves.
Nine battery operated shields were used. The shields are made by an Australian company and South African technology. The electronic-shield emitters were attached to a 130 foot line and suspended three feet below the surface. The Globe Pro Junior Teams Challenge 2005 featured over 80 competitors from Australia and the United States. Steve Robertson, of Surfing Australia, stated, "It could seriously change the base of professional surfing" when commenting on the use of Shark-Repelling beacons. (Reuters, 1)
The use of electronic shields to safely separate human swimmers from dangerous sharks is a great idea. If the technology proves to be effective the demand for it will
surely rise drastically with the recent shark attack cases in the United States and the rest of the world.
REUTERS. "Buzz Off! Aussie Surfers Use Device to Repel Sharks."...