Anti-shark technology is nothing new to the surf world. The market is littered with devices and gear that use magnetic fields to disorient and deter sharks, among other things. The problem with most of these products is their inconvenient size, but one company has found an innovative solution.
The most common anti-shark devices are bulky wristbands that can cause discomfort or annoyance. Other products are board attachments, but adding unnecessary weight to a board is just as troublesome. This is why Modom and Sharkbanz have teamed-up to produce a leash to reduce the risk of sharks – the Modom Shark Leash.
The Shark Leash, like other products, uses magnetic technology to deter sharks. Most shark attacks occur out of curiosity – investigating the human in their environment. Sharks have a sac in their snout that can sense a prey’s electrical current, and the magnets in the Shark Leash disorient this sense, causing the shark to leave the area.
The leash’s magnet has a radius of about six-and-a-half feet. While it has been tested to work against most shark species, the exception is the Great White. These bad boys hunt aggressively, tracking prey and bolting at high speeds when attacking, rendering most anti-shark devices ineffective.
The ankle strap is slightly larger than the norm, but at less than 3.5 ounces, it shouldn’t be a noticeable difference. The leash is fully interchangeable, meaning you can swap out or replace the cord like normal – the technology is in the ankle strap. Perhaps the biggest difference is the $180 price tag through Modom.
Team riders for Modom have been using the device for a few months and Kelly Slater and World Surf League Commissioner Kieren Perrow have recently converted. Rumor is the WSL will be offering the Shark Leash to all riders during July’s J-Bay Open. The South African-hosted tournament is where pro-surfer Mick Fanning had a shark encounter in 2015 during competition.
While no technology is 100 percent guaranteed to prevent a shark attack, any step to reduce the risk is worth taking. In a performance-based sport, the use of additional gear or equipment isn’t always an option, but the improvement of existing ones certainly should be.