The Next (Affordable) Step In Shark Repellents: Organic wax?
Wax on, sharks off.
Sharks! Gasp! In the recent onslaught of sharks v surfers, a lot of R&D’s gone into repellents, and some thought into “let’s just kill them all!”
South Africa, Australia, Northern California, Reunion Island, Kauai, Florida and inland tourists have piqued interest in the new, don’t-get-bit technology (there’s also if-you-did-get-bit-programs – post medical attention). And, right now, there’s a handful of mechanisms on the market. There’s the Modom Shark Leash, wrists bands, anklets (it’s called house arrest and is the most effective), shark repellent sprays, Sharkcamo decals (zebra print!), and a Shark Repellent Grenade (kaboom!).
But one South Australian revolutionary seeks to solve this issue with an organic formula that we used every time before hitting the water: Wax – aptly named Chillax. Ingenious, simple and calm – like Xanax in the morning (or green tea).
However, it’s yet to be tested. Mr Campbell’s not convinced by the electronic and magnetic aids on the market; so he stripped back the tech, went organic, and it’s so 2016.
“I moved to South Australia in June last year, and that presented me with the perennial problem for a surfer – sharks,” he told ABC.
And thus he began research into natural animal repellents.
“It’s simply local beeswax, cold-pressed coconut oil, a bunch of essential oils and spices,” continued Neil. Similar ingredients of a 12-dollar green juice at Whole Foods.
“The essential herbs and spices came about from me researching a range of repellent combinations across a range of species.”
According to ABC: Clove oil, which has been used to euthanise Port Jackson sharks, is one ingredient. So too are hot peppers – as Mr Campbell said sharks are olfactory predators, meaning they hunt by scent.
This organic, anti-technology has yet to be tested. But in September Neil’s taking Chillax to Neptune Island – a seal breeding area filled with exceptionally large great whites. He’ll be accompanied by Flinders University aquatic researcher Professor Charlie Huveneers and shark dive operator and researcher Andrew Fox.
“One of the things they won’t let me do is jump into the water with the sharks,” said Neil. “Though I am keen to do it as I think that is what surfers will want to see.”
So the initial test will be a board or decoy covered in wax and placed in the water. They will be examining the molecular spread of the product and the sharks’ reaction to entering the “infected” zone.
“We are going to scientifically measure the validity of what has been until now only a good argument,” Mr Campbell said.
If proven, don’t let them clip your wings, Neil. Dive in, paddle and repel, all in the name of science!
“I anticipate that we will get some good results from the [September] tests and we can go from there.”
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