Aussie inventor working on shark repellent surf wax

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Wax built on same principle as bear & mosquito repellent

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 July, 2016 – Recently there has been a rush of shark repellent products for the surf community. Modom, Shark Shield, Creatures of Leisure and Shark Mitigation Systems have all launched products aimed at keeping the toothy predators away.

The list of surf products from these companies includes leashes, wearable wrist and ankle systems, and wetsuits with special graphics.

If all goes well you’ll be able to add surf wax to this list. The bars look like a dessert serving of flan but contain a potpourri of scents including eucalyptus, chilli, cloves, cayenne pepper, neem, tea tree oil, citronella, coconut and beeswax.

Inventor Neil Campbell developed the formula after an encounter with a large shark off Long Reef in Sydney and the experience freaked him out enough to “re-scent” before going in the water.

“I used either Tiger Balm or tea tree oil as part of this instinctive private idea that I wouldn’t smell like shark food,” Campbell said in an article with News Leads South Australia. “That idea appears to have lingered, and I’ve made it grow up.”

“The essential idea is that you’ll smell different from shark food but more to the point there are a number of combinations of these natural smells and spices that are used as deterrents, specifically for grizzly bears, dogs, leaches, brown snakes and of course mosquitoes and flies,” Campbell said. “It’s not just willy-nilly, all of them have a track record in some way or another.”

Campbell said he hoped to incorporate necromones – putrefied shark tissue extractions that can produce repellent responses in sharks – into the product in the next six months.

“Anecdotal observations have shown that sharks avoid areas containing decomposing shark tissue,” added Dr Charlie Huveneers who leads the Southern Shark Ecology Group research lab at Flinders University and has liaised with Campbell about his product.

“Recent studies have shown that necromones can stop the feeding behaviour of reef sharks suggesting that it has a behavioural effect on sharks,” Huveneers added. No independent scientific studies have yet been carried out to test whether the Chillax Surf Wax deterred or repelled sharks.

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