Yesterday was my first confirmed encounter with a great white surfing. I have surfed around 15 sessions now with my SURF7 amidst several shark incidents on my stretch of coast near Ballina and Byron Bay Australia. Yesterday was my first confirmed encounter with a great white surfing with 3 others at flat rock Ballina, close to the site of last months attack and fatality. We all exited the water when one of our group raised the alarm. It reinforces my trust in your device as I can with certainty say that I have been circled by a very large one and it kept its distance allowing us to return to shore.
Attila Izdebski, Surfer, Cactus, South Australia
As a dedicated surfer of 37 years I never really gave sharks a lot of thought, sure I am as tuned in to local conditions as possible. I spent many hours in the water at Cactus in the 1970’s to 1990’s experiencing no major shark issues, perhaps my Karma contributed to my good fortune?
At 55 years of age I now tend to think about sharks more, perhaps this is normal as we get older & closer to our expiry dates? I just like to thank Shark Shield for the SURF7, as it gives peace of mind surfing the Mid Coast & West Coast of South Australia. On those days of long lulls between sets & wave conditions being fairly random, I now feel less exposed wearing my Shark Shield SURF7.
I have several boards that are all fitted for the Shark Shield SURF7. Embracing change seems difficult for older crew, surfers especially seem slow to adopt something that potentially will save their lives & enhance their enjoyment in the water. I must admit it took a few sessions to get used to the Shark Shield SURF7, although the perceived encumbrance of the antennae did not occur. I now would not surf without one & thoroughly recommend all surfers to embrace the technology, if not for themselves but their wife’s/girlfriends & families.
Dan Webber, Surfer, Ballina, Australia
After 8 surfs with an Ocean Guardian, I am beginning to think it is worthwhile, despite the occasional electric shock. It is possible to turn it down, but that would also reduce the size of the electric field protecting you. The weight of the battery is noticeable, but you get used to it. The best thing about using Ocean Guardian, especially at a place renowned for shark attacks, is the feeling of being a lot safer than if you were not using one. You just feel more at ease knowing that an eventual attack would probably be averted or at least reduced in severity. Other advantages include surfing in conditions that you might not otherwise consider safe or else not worth the risk. And then there is the peace of mind you give to loved ones, who might be concerned for your safety, and a significant reduction in any guilt you might feel for risking your life just to go surfing. Seriously, what is the world coming to when you have to surf in an electric field just to feel safe?
Daran Thompson, Surfer, Perth, Western Australia
I use a Shark Shield for peace of mind for myself and my family. I have four children with another on the way. My wife and my mother were both very concerned about me surfing with all the shark attacks and strongly encouraged me to get a Shark Shield. I don’t surf with it all the time. I use it when I’m surfing alone or days that seem “sharky” and overcast. I also use it early in the morning and at dusk.
I had heard the rumour that it attracts sharks, but I read up on that and I now understand why that’s a fallacy. I was also concerned that it might get in my way while surfing, but it absolutely does not. I simply do not notice it in the water. I don’t notice it surfing or paddling, which was a very pleasant surprise.
Dean Gregory, Surfer Perth, Western Australia
I used to only use my Shark Shield in sharky areas, but after a mate was taken by a shark, I use it all the time now. It takes that little niggle out of the back of my mind, helps you relax and just surf.
I don’t really notice the Shark Shield, a bit in small waves under three feet when there’s not a lot of power, you can feel it a bit at the top of your turns, and it’s difficult to throw the tail. But if there is a bit of punch in the wave then no dramas. No effect in the tube either. When the waves are small I use an old thick twinny and you don’t feel any drag. Just keep surfing with it, after a half a dozen surfs, you wont notice it on your board and your surfing will be your focus.
Derek Murray, Surfer, South Australia
Ocean Guardian, Powered by Shark Shield Technology, gives me a lot more confidence, especially when surfing alone, or at a new spot. I find I still go out even when the risk factors are increased a bit…if there is a river mouth nearby, or if it is dusk. My surf buddy has just got one now too, after 6 months of surfing with me, because he doesn’t like the thought he is more attractive to shark when we go out.
The Ocean Guardian doesn’t affect my surfing. There are so many other factors that have more impact – the type of board I’m on, wave conditions, my own weight, level of fitness…all of these make a difference, whereas the Ocean Guardian is just a small extra weight on my board. I’m intermediate, so I can’t really tell the difference between having the Ocean Guardian and not.
Federico Jaime, Surfer, Shark Attack Survivor, Maui, Hawaii
As a surfer you often have sharks in your mind, especially when entering certain spots. After surviving a shark attack, Ocean Guardian has given me the confidence to be in the water and I don’t have to worry thinking about sharks anymore. I even surf spots that I would not surf before for this reason. This is the only device that really works. Read about Fede’s amazing survival story on Hawaii News here.
Hoppy, Surfer, Cactus Beach, South Australia
Just returned from 10 days surfing at Point Sinclair using one of your units. I found it gave me much more confidence in the water and enabled me to relax and not spend all my time looking over my shoulder after 2 close encounters here last year. Only complaints being a fairly short legged person I found the unit to be a touch long on my lower leg and a touch restrictive when paddling and riding smaller waves [not often a problem at this spot].
I am all round won over by your product and noticed my mates though at first a little sceptical, sat a damn lot closer to me than usual [maybe another complaint]. Anyway thanks for the peace of mind, extended surf time, and enabling me to recapture my passion for the surf. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Hoppy.
Joey Rago, Surfer, Australia
I used my Shark Shield SURF7 for the first time this weekend and loved it! I rode my 6’10 quad fish surfboard and didn’t even notice it was on the board. The media should be ashamed of themselves for spreading false propaganda about this device. I looked back as I was paddling as fast as I could and the electrode antenna was completely submerged at all times. The surfing conditions would have to be really terrible for it to be skipping around on the surface of the water. I was really relaxed in the line-up this weekend thanks to Shark Shield.
John Hastings, Surfer, South Australia
Having used the Shark Shield whilst surfing for some time now, my opinion on the unit is as follows.
Importantly, Shark Shield doesn’t impede on my surfing action.
The Shark Shield is portable and doesn’t make much longer to set up than attaching a normal leg rope to the board.
The Shark Shield is easily cleaned after a surf.
My family and wife never liked the idea of me surfing alone on the west coast before, but now they are all comfortable with it.
Mainly, the Shark Shield lets me feel comfortable and relaxed while I’m out surfing, especially since the shark sightings are becoming more frequent.
In essence, once one of the local lads at Elliston got taken, most of my friends gave up. I found out about the Shark Shield and haven’t been more comfortable since wearing the unit.
After only 3 months use of the Shark Shield, I am reluctant to go surfing without it.
Whenever I go out, the guys know I’m wearing a shark repellent and all hang around me like flies.
Kieren Brown, Surfer, Kayaker and SUP, Western Australia
I use an Ocean Guardian for peace of mind. I have a wife and two young kids and I want to come home every time after I’ve been in the water. Before I bought my Ocean Guardian, I was questioning continuing with my surfing.
Initially, I thought it felt heavy, but once I was in the water, I felt nothing. I can quite easily feel seaweed on my leg rope, but with the Ocean Guardian there was no noticeable drag either paddling or surfing.
The price of a Ocean Guardian for that peace of mind is totally worth it.
Kurt Weise, Surfer, Florida, USA
October 2018: I think your product (FREEDOM+ Surf) is great, it makes me much safer in the sharky waters of south east Florida and it is very sharky. First rate customer service too. This company stands by their products.
Malan & Trizanne, Surfers, Kommetjie, South Africa
Just some feedback from our weekend at Stilbaai.
We both surfed together on the Saturday late afternoon at Morris Point, conditions were actually ominous- or felt ominous…some surfers came out because they felt uneasy being alone in the water.
We paddled out and only turned our devices on once we got through the break – we were definitely aware of the Shark Shields- either through a consistent pulse or a light shock with take offs…this was at first something to get use to and also sometimes on the take offs a little disturbing – but peace of mind that the shield did in fact emit a strong current.
With shallow duck diving – not a problem, but if a wave came onto your head and deeper duck diving- so grabbing your board much tighter, one was definitely more aware of the shield IE.. feeling the current…
But overall, such peace of mind and one could actually relax in the water.
The rest of the weekend was dismal for surf – but we surfed Tues midday at Jongens Reef – just the 2 of us – so definitely under normal circumstances – one would feel very uneasy in the water… the same effect from the shield, slight pulse and sometimes interference on the take-off, but one definitely gets use to it quickly…
We probably surfed about 2 hours the first day and had 6 green flashes left in the battery pack…so it lasts long.
All in all – a GREAT peace of mind and the interference is minor…so will absolutely recommend the device to anyone that surfs in water that has a higher shark risk.
Thanks again guys! We’re really super stoked with the Shark Shield.
Peter Jones, Surfer, South Africa
By June 2008 there had been a number of shark sightings at our local `extremely remote` surf spot deep in the Transkei home land on the East Coast of South Africa. On a number of weekends prior to this, the guys had been `chased` out of the water by some very large `men in grey suites`. On this particular weekend the waves were exceptionally good. During my second surf, while surfing with Andre Malherbe, one of our top surfers in the country ( just the two of us out ). I had my well used trusty 7 hr Surf Unit attached to my board. As usual for this spot. Andre does not wear a unit. I tuned to paddle for a wave, Andre was slightly further out and thus had a better view of any movement in the water. I was focused on taking off on the steepest part of the wave, when I heard Andre`s panicked scream “shark, shark”. He didn’t want to duck dive as he may actually have hit the shark. I let the wave go by and totally `un-panicked` asked him what the problem was. He replied “Fxxxk didn’t you see the shark?”, as he hastily paddled towards me. “NO “, I replied, “What happened? “. He replied that the shark was moving in the wave, a few meters from him but heading towards me at a mean speed, as it got extremely close to me it just, cartwheeled backwards. I would like to think that this was when it was in `the shark shield` zone. I asked Andre what he wanted me to do. His response was “fxxxk, just come and sit here next to me and to allow me to take the next wave”, which he scurried into and went in over the rocks. I on the other hand was still feeling pretty stoked about the waves and started paddling out when about 4 different groups of people on the bank started screaming “shark”. Well, reluctantly I got out of the water. To surf another day.
Spencer Flake, Surfer, USA
Just came back from a surf trip and the new FREEDOM+ Surf unit is awesome. Such a huge improvement over the old one!
Steve Carrigg, Surfer, Lennox Head, Australia
I am very happy to now be enjoying my surfing again. I grew up surfing the south west of WA (Great White central!) and never really thought much about the risk, but since having kids and with the issues we’ve had up here on the north coast of NSW, my primary source of relaxation quickly turned into a source of anxiety.
Just last Friday, Sharpes Beach near home was evacuated by the DPI helicopter as a 4m white was very close to the beach. I felt very comfortable paddling out at the same spot the next morning with my new Freedom + Surf turned on.
Whilst researching the Shield and wondering whether I should get one, I called my cousin in Augusta, WA (a professional abalone diver). I asked him what he thought of the Shark Shield. His reply “I won’t go to work without one”. That was good enough for me. I bought two! One for the wife and one for me. Now when we take our young kids out, we will sit either side of them as close as we can!
Sunny Garcia, Pro Surfer, Hawaii, USA
With all the shark attacks lately, it sure gives me some peace of mind knowing I have the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM+ Surf on my side just in case I have an encounter with a shark.
Tony French-Kennedy, Surfer Cactus, South Australia
Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve just returned from 10 days camped at Cactus (Penong).
Surf every day, often 3-4 sessions. The shark Shield didn’t skip a beat, charged up easily in the car and didn’t bother the car battery, even though it didn’t really have the engine started throughout. Only time it went flat in the water was after about 6-7 hours over 3 sessions without a charge.
Breaking hard 5-6ft on occasion but hardly noticed the Shark Shield (mounted on the board), except the odd kick after getting cleaned up and rolling in the white-water, resulting in the antenna wrapped around the fins and electrode on the board deck. But that was easy to fix with a couple of spins of the board freeing the electrode.
Very happy to have it in the water for my last session, when I was out by myself about 7pm and a shark fin appeared about 20ft away straight in front. Nevertheless, thinking that discretion is the better part of valor, and mechanical equipment usually fails when you really want it, I paddled in (feeling very relieved and confirmed in my use of the Sharkshield). Psychology is everything when it comes to enjoying time in the water…
All the best
Tony French-Kennedy, Surfer, South Australia
After using the original surf unit for the last ten years or so, the lack of an electrode cable when recovering a board in the impact zone was a revelation. No shocks, no tangles. The joy factor definitely lifted.
On one session I found that the power module was intermittent, and then stopped working. I put that down to a poor connection, so thereafter washed the terminals with fresh water whenever removing for charging, and was careful to ensure the power module was pushed home with screws just tight enough. I’ve had 8-10 sessions since with no problems.
Adam Farrow, Abalone Diver & Spearfisher, Lodi, California
I own a Shark Shield & it has prevented at least one attack on me by a great white shark.
I dive for abalone and spear fish for halibut in an area that is infested with great white sharks. The Marine surveyors have most of them tagged and say there are 3 to 5 in the immediate area where I dive at any given time. While diving for abalone I had a great white shark come straight in on me, he was 7 feet away from me when he made a hard left turn when he entered the protected area. I kept diving while this was happening. The people in the boat saw the shark and kept me informed on his progress…
It works, trust me.
Adam Farrow, Diver, California, USA
Nearly two weeks ago, I was abalone diving off of the California coast in an area known for Great Whites and attacks. I have had several encounters with GWs in the past so I purchased a Shark Shield and mounted it inside my dive tube with the tail going through a hole in the bottom of the tube.
In the middle of our trip a large white, about 18′ came straight at me, it was viewed by the people in the boat, not me. They warned me about the shark, I thought it was farther away from me than it was so I continued diving. They eventually said the shark had left the area, I had great confidence in my safety because I knew my shield was on and working and that there has never been an attack on a person with a Shark Shield. Later I found out that the shark came within 3 meters of me and the shield and then made a left turn to avoid the shield. Just wanted to say thanks.
Ben Choi, Spearfisher, Florida, USA
June 2018: I first started wearing the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7 around 2013 and have had the same unit for the last 5 years. I mainly spearfish on Florida’s West Coast but have travelled all over the Gulf of Mexico and through the Bahamas with my FREEDOM7. I was skeptical at first, but started noticing significantly fewer close interactions with sharks, even with a lot of dead fish and blood in the water. Even in bait schools where there are a lot of actively feeding sharks, the sharks never came inside the effective range of the FREEDOM7. I dive close to 100 days a year and over the last 5 years the FREEDOM7 has proven itself effective time and time again. I have absolute confidence in my FREEDOM7’s ability to keep sharks away while spearfishing. In my opinion, there is not a more effective shark deterrent than Ocean Guardian.
Bob Hurwitz, Spearfishing, California, USA
We were on our way to Wakaya in Fiji, where there are countless sharks, including a resident hammerhead that everyone claims is 18 feet by direct measurement, tigers, bronze whalers, and reef sharks that were among the largest I have ever seen.
When my friend started opening his mouth about all the giant sharks in the waters before the trip my wife insisted I bring my old, and never used, Shark POD* for my son. As far as MY safety was concerned she was OK with me swimming around with a pork chop tied to my leg. I decided to buy a couple of those new Shark Shields that Mark Labocetta brought up on the list and once my buddy saw how small and simple they were he had me buy one for him.
The Shark Shield was interesting. I didn’t use it on my body until the last few days on Wakaya as I hadn’t seen any of the vaunted man-eaters I had heard about, just numerous big reefies smaller bronze whalers, and the visibility was good enough that I felt I would see something coming in. However, it definitely works and I would use it without hesitation in murky water or on some of those crazy trips the hardcore guys go on to Guadalupe or wherever. On Vomo I attached it to my float where my stringer was, and in a virtual first, didn’t lose a fish on a 3 hour dive. Normally, trailing your fish on a stringer 75 feet behind you is like ringing the lunch bell.
There were sharks on every dive so it was easy to test. I actually speared a fish and held it out and waved it around. I couldn’t get a shark near me. They would come in and veer away. Same thing when I didn’t have the fish. Usually I can dive down and jab them with my gun to get them away but with the shield I couldn’t get close enough to do it. It was like they hit an invisible wall that not only stops them but irritates them. For blue water diving, where you can have some monster sharks coming out from any direction, particularly the often observed behavior of tiger sharks just stealthily appearing at your fin tips, I would call the shield a no brainer. Same thing for the Florida guys who dive murky water with those bull sharks. In Northern California, South Africa, Australia and other areas where great whites are prevalent and water visibility is marginal it would make for more relaxed diving.
As I am often diving in remote parts of the world, I am grateful for, and enthusiastically support, products such as the Shark Shield that are so well designed and effective – especially for freedivers who are trying to minimize bulk and stay streamlined.
*The Shark POD is a discontinued product and no longer in production.
Cam Kirkconnell, World Record Spearfisher, USA
The greatest advantage we have found with the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7 is keeping sharks away from a speared fish. When hunting Big Yellow Tunas in the Blue Water, there are lots of 8-12′ sharks that can eat a 250lb (113kg) tuna in a matter of seconds and is a devastating loss to us spearos.
Captain Scott Childress, Commercial Spearfisher, Gulf of Mexico, USA
I am a full time commercial spear fisherman and I am always looking for a way to increase productivity. Over the last few years, we have had more and more issues with sharks on the west coast of Florida. They slow us down and even become dangerous. Due to this, I became interested in Ocean Guardian and was given the chance to test one. I have been diving with the Shark Shield about 7 months in an attempt to personally determine its effectiveness. I can say, without a doubt, “THE OCEAN GUARDIAN WORKS!” I don’t know if it is 100% effective, because almost nothing in life is guaranteed, but I can tell you that I have had fewer encounters with sharks than others on my crew who were not using the Ocean Guardian. Several of my crew have even borrowed my shield when I was not in the water and had the same results as myself. The sharks I have seen have been inquisitive to aggressive and have all done 180 degree turns when entering the field that the Ocean Guardian produces. I have purposely shot multiple fish, after having sharks show up, in an attempt to get them fired up. They have definitely gone into feeding mode but would still not come into the field. I have had to deal with Duskys, Sanbars, Bulls and one Mako, which was the biggest shark I have seen in my diving career. I was super happy to have the Ocean Guardian on when that Mako showed up! My confidence in the Ocean Guardian’s effectiveness has increased my production and allowed me to continue to harvest fish after sharks show up. I trust that the Ocean Guardian is keeping me from being “blind sided”.
Chris Shellabear, Spearfishing, Nedlands, Western Australia
Thanks for your product. I was asked to dive with a long standing dive partner of mine who was taking his boat around Australia. I spent nearly a week diving at the Muiron Islands north of Exmouth. On the one day I had 2 encounters, one whilst holding a fish speared for dinner that my friend was keen to photograph. We were in about 5m of water and there was a gully behind me. As I faced the camera and the shot was taken, my friend lurched back for some reason – he later told me when we surfaced that I had been charged by a Bull Shark that broke its attack 2-3 metres behind me. My initial thoughts were that I was lucky, till I remembered I was wearing the Ocean Guardian.
Later in the day I was diving down without a tank. Whilst retrieving a fish that had fallen off a spear, I came into a collision with another Bull Shark chasing the same fish – needless to say it broke off the charge again. So your product works!! And might I say it was easy to use, in fact I was not overly aware of its presence even though the sharks were! I have friends that swim with the Ocean Guardian and others who use it at my surf club on their surf skis, so it obviously brings others peace of mind as well.
So more power to you and good luck with Ocean Guardian.
Craig Rickey, Spearfisher, Florida, United States
I was spearfishing with a group of 5 and 2 in our party had Ocean Guardian’s. Both with the Ocean Guardian left the water to take a break. In the mean time we had speared 2 large hog fish, one of which was immediately retrieved & the other going into a hole. While attempting to retrieve the Second Hog fish, we speared a Grouper. All of the commotion began to draw sharks to the area. There were 3 reef sharks that kept coming in close to the divers. When one of the 2 other divers went back to the boat to drop off his fish he took a moment to put on the Ocean Guardian. Within seconds of arriving back at the spot we were diving the sharks left. We worked and got the remaining Hog fish as well as another Grouper, the water was full of blood from 4 different fish, but no sharks came close. I was the last to get back in the boat, and within 2 minutes of the Ocean Guardian leaving the water, the sharks returned. In times past, with that much blood in the water, and active sharks, we would have abandoned the area. The Ocean Guardian works and extended our time in the water.
David Buckland, Professional Abalone Diver, Australia
I have had two encounters with sharks in the past two years. One was a Great White of approximately 4m, diving in clear water at 20m. She came in slowly, totally aware of my presence. The first thing I wanted to do is get the hell out of there, but sensibility prevailed; a quick check to see if my electronic shark repellent was on and functioning – and it was. I just kept still, looking at the shark, wondering if this is what it was like for some of my mates that that had been taken by Great Whites. It came closer – suddenly, as if hitting some invisible barrier, at about 8 metres it turned suddenly, shook and disappeared.
I had a similar situation with a 3m Bronze Whaler, where it hit the field and quickly took off.
Every professional and recreational diver working in my area lives with the fear of shark attack – my own brother Paul was taken by a Great White.
I will never enter the water without my Ocean Guardian, as I am convinced this will lessen the risk.
David Jack, Ocean Swimmer, Cottesloe, Western Australia
I’m a regular swimmer at Cottesloe beach in Western Australia. In October of 2011 another regular, Brin Martin, had been killed by a shark. His body was never recovered but from the bite marks on his bathers it was determined to be a white pointer. Needless to say this motivated me to purchase an Ocean Guardian. On the second day of using it, at about 8.45 in the morning on Saturday the 5th of November 2011 I was about 100m off shore near the end of my kilometer long swim. Swimming freestyle I turned my head to take a breath.
On the bottom behind me I saw a white pointer, it charged. I turned to face it. It was travelling at full speed and when it hit the field generated by the shield I could see the discomfort on its face. It was travelling too fast to stop but veered away and circled around seeing if it could get closer. When it couldn’t it swam off, almost as fast as me. I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t been wearing the Ocean Guardian! David Jack.
David Mills, Spearfishing, WA, Australia
I recently encountered a 3m juvenile white shark off Albany, Western Australia whilst spearfishing. I was in 16m of water when it came from behind at speed. The first I knew was the shadow above me and the the shark turning about 6-8m in front of me, giving me a complete side profile. It circled me slowly then came in again at speed but you could definitely see the shark turn away at approx 4-6m before it disappeared into the depths.
I believe that the shark ambushed me from behind and was zapped by the Ocean Guardian electrical field, then came in again where it was zapped again.
I believe the Ocean Guardian saved me from an attack and was money well spent. I will be purchasing another for my son ASAP.
Dean Summers, Ocean Swimmer, Australia
May 2018: I am an endurance open water swimmer and just finished a 20 hour Molokai channel swim in Hawaii. I was followed by a large oceanic white-tipped shark for 5 hours with only Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7s for protection. This was witnessed by an official swim observer and the crew of my pilot boat and was an incredible experience for us all.
Before this, I was skeptical however I watched as this 8-12 foot shark flinch when it came close to the FREEDOM7, I became more confident of finishing the swim and of the protection your product really offers swimmers.
Ever since my brother Damon had a very bad encounter with a very large Great White at Purdie Island in 1996, we have looked into any way of avoiding another encounter with Great White Sharks. We started out by using an underwater cage unit which we found very restrictive and unsuitable for our working environment, therefore found we still needed to dive freely on hookah gear most working days.
When we saw the first Shark POD* unit on the market, we looked into the type of protection it could provide us. We decided to purchase the first model which wasn’t quite what we expected, as we needed to use a unit which had a power source on the boat and a hard wire attached to the dive hose. This unit proved unworkable, as the hard wire was too heavy for our air hose and caused it to sink to the bottom and constantly became caught on rocks, reef etc. Therefore we basically used it as a safety unit, which we kept in the boat, so it could be used in the event of another problem.
The day came when I was diving in approx. 35-40 feet off Flinders Island in low visibility, and had been in the water for about 1.5 hours. I was inflating a parachute when a Great White shark, approximately 10 feet in length, approached me. I laid flat on the bottom until Damon got the message to send the Shark POD down to me. I had seen the shark pass very close by five times in about 30 minutes, before the POD was sent down to me, switched on. I stayed on the bottom for another 15 minutes before I felt confident enough to break for the surface. From the moment the POD was in the water, I never saw the shark again. Since the Oz PODS have been available we (my brother Damon and I) have used these every time we enter the water and have found it gives us confidence to dive in most places, without the encumbrance of a cage. We have come to trust and rely on the Shark POD.
*Shark POD is an old obsolete product and no longer in production
Elyse Frankcom, Professional Snorkelling Guide, Rockingham, Western Australia
My name is Elyse Frankcom and I work as a professional snorkelling guide on an Eco-tour for swimming with wild dolphins.
Safety is a big issue of course as we take many passengers into the ocean! We use your Ocean Guardians to deter sharks while working!
I did not have my unit turned on while free diving with dolphins and was recently attacked by a 3 metre Great White Shark! My first reaction was to punch and then try pushing the shark away while a very brave passenger pulled the tail! I remembered my Ocean Guardian wasn’t on so I immediately turned it on and the shark dropped me and swam away as quick as it came!
I believe that if I didn’t turn the Ocean Guardian on, I would not be alive today! The Ocean Guardian saved my life as well as everyone around me in the water. Never again will I enter the water without my unit turned on!
Gary Doubleday, Diver, Adelaide, South Australia
My name is Gary Doubleday and I have one of the Shark Shield DIVE01* units and I am very pleased with it. I have read articles from professional divers about the Shark Shield and how they praise it – I must say, I do too, even though I have not had any encounters with sharks.
I find donning the Shark Shield before a dive is easy and it is comfortable to wear. You don”t really know you are wearing the unit while diving.
Wearing the Shark Shield has given me a better peace of mind. Now I go to some dive sites that I have not dived for a long time – sites that have a reputation for being sighted there, and I mean big sharks (White Pointers). Now I dive these sites and feel better within myself knowing I am protected by the Shark Shield. I know its impossible to be protected in every situation, but knowing I have the Shark Shield on makes my diving that every bit more enjoyable and dive time longer.
Its funny how many divers like to be your dive buddy when you are wearing a Shark Shield and its not always the lady divers that want to be your buddy. I recommend the Shark Shield to anyone. I think I have talked a couple of divers into getting the Shark Shield and they tell me how much more they enjoy their dives now.
Thank you for your time in reading this. I hope I have helped you make your decision in buying a Shark Shield.
*The DIVE01 is an obsolete product and no longer in production
Glenelg Marine, South Australia
We were concerned initially that the promotion of Ocean Guardian may have a negative affect on our customers and we had a lot to lose considering we are the largest training facility in Southern Australia. Following two well publicised shark incidents (aren’t they all) last year which resulted in a dramatic business downturn, we were forced for the survival of our business to reassess the whole shark phobia problem.
We instituted a promotion on radio, TV, and the press stating, “although sharks aren’t a real problem, for your peace of mind we use the latest technology – Ocean Guardian on all of your training dives, there is no reason now not to learn.”
For a three month period post shark attack, the only thing that saved our butt was Ocean Guardian. We now know that promoting Ocean Guardian will have no negative affect on customer retention, in fact the opposite is the case. Customers in general will not raise the shark issue however our store now visibly displays the product which provides the opportunity for discussion and I find it amazing how many customers have been hiding their fear.
Finally we have an answer to what I believe the single biggest factor that greatly reduces entry level participation. Ocean Guardian certainly does:
Ensures participation continues.
Increases bottom line profits.
Great White Scare for Police Divers
A GROUP of Water Police has been forced to wait 10 minutes underwater while a 4m great white shark circled above.
The divers were at 18m, on a training exercise at Grange tyre reef, when the shark appeared near a boat above them.
They remained in radio contact with boat crew until given the all clear to surface.
The divers were wearing Shark Shield, an electronic shark protector vest. The incident, on Monday, is one of four shark sightings this week.
Greg Pickering – Abalone Diver, South Australia
I can say without any doubt that Shark Shield™ works as advertised. I recently had two separate encounters with Great White sharks and each time the unit repelled the shark at 4 to 5 meters.
Ian “Shark Gordon”, Shark Conservationist & Discovery Channel Presenter, Australia
I have been involved with electrical shark deterrents since their inception in the early 1990’s. The original manufacturers of “Shark POD” (Natal Sharks Board of South Africa) sought my input to trial the new technology with a number of species of sharks including Great White Sharks off South Australia.
My many years of diving with these incredible creatures has led to a great respect and a firm belief that a shark protection unit that enables people to enter the water without fear will ultimately help to ensure the sharks survival in the future.
The incredible invention of the ‘Shark POD’ technology is a tribute to the dedication and perseverance of a company setting new ground.
My early scepticism changed when I witnessed sharks repulsed from baits set out to attract them. But it took me considerable time to leave the protection of a barred cage, protected only by an invisible electrical field. This I did to test the POD’s effect on sharks in a series of experiments – but it worked. I however do not recommend that this technology be used with Great White sharks in “hot spot” areas as a sole form of protection.
Over recent years I have followed the trials and eventual manufacture of the new ‘Shark Shield’. This unit is lighter and smaller than the old POD with a larger more powerful battery. It is also much more user friendly allowing greater flexibility of use. People often ask me, Does it work? – YES. But can I give a 100% guarantee against shark attacks? – NO. The one thing that stands out in my years of research is the unpredictable nature of the animal.
I firmly believe that in the vast majority of cases, when used correctly, it will repel most sharks, but it should not be seen as an invincible tool leading us to believe that now the ocean is our domain. And perhaps this is a good thing, a part of the planet we can not dominate.
With the help of ‘Shark Shield’, and if used correctly, we now have the opportunity to explore the oceans with less risk.
Jeff Grocke, Abalone Diver
I have from a young boy had an affinity with the sea, and acquired a love for diving that still continues today. I have been professionally abalone diving for some 20 years. The majority of those years I have free dived without the protection of a cage unit. It wasn’t until 2 years ago after 3 White Pointer sightings over the years, and continued pressure from my family, I decided that perhaps I was “pushing my luck” and purchased a Shark POD*.
I was however, a little sceptical of the protection that the inventors claimed the unit to have, but my doubts were short lived after my fourth confrontation.
I was diving in approx. 25 feet of water for Blacklip Abalone when the swell built up, making it too uncomfortable to work “blacks” so I swam out to the drop off of approx. 45 feet. As I swam out, I caught sight of an 11 foot White Pointer swimming in towards me. I sat on the bottom and watched as he turned and swam along the face of me approx. 18 feet away, and then turned in toward me. I realized then that the battery was low, as the red light was on and remembered Mike telling me that fully charged, the protective electrical field is approx. 7 metres in diameter. How far was it when only half charged? The Shark kept coming straight at me, not rushing, but definitely curious. He hit the field approx. 10 feet away from me and unbelievably it was like he hit a brick wall. He turned tail and bolted leaving me in a wash. I sat on the bottom for a further few minutes but never caught sight of him again. I was that confident, even with a low battery, that I finished filling my bag and returned to the boat where my sheller was totally oblivious to the Shark.
*Shark POD is an obsolete product and no longer in production
Joe Backer – Recreation & Professional Shelldiver
You may have caught an abbreviated part of the White Pointer encounter put in the full test review of the Shark Shield on www.digitalreviews.net , but here’s the full story. Having been a recreation swimmer/spear fisher and professional shell diver for approximately 40 years, diving up to 15 km off the coast and 60 metres deep, I’ve had all sorts of encounters with sharks. From having to “smokie” a 3.5 metre Bronze whaler (silly move) then being back to back with the buddy, pushing them off when 11 or 12 more of them sensed the blood. The choice being for us to go up and die, (7 minutes into decompression after a 44 metre dive) or stay down and maybe die. We chose the latter on that occasion.
Even though we were not shooting fish on the many excursions we encountered sharks, no matter what the species, they always seemed to do a circle around us, usually not in any hasty or aggravated manner, but a cruise to see what was happening. Were we edible, maybe????
Usually, if I tried to attack them with the hand spear they would stay out of reach and on all of the occasions with the exception of one, they seemed more scared of me than I of them until the encounter at Bird Rock.
On this next encounter we were shell diving Cheynes Beach, Bird Rock, known to be out in the wilds, 58 metres to the bottom and about 5 kilometres offshore. We had been enjoying ourselves looking for cowries as usual and had gone a bit over our usual stay time which meant it was essential that we do a minimum of 8 minutes decompression.
Visibility was great and we could see about 35 metres of anchor rope going lazily to the bottom, and proceeded to play our usual charades while we waited for the dive computers to say we could break the surface. Suddenly, out of the blue haze at about the same depth we were glided a big Grey and White shark coming straight for us. I immediately realised that this was a White Pointer. Not because of his colour or shape or anything else, but his eyes and manner was so different. He was not scared and swam toward us with absolutely no fear and with such self assuredness and arrogance that he left no doubt that he was superior.
I find it difficult to put into words the difference between other sharks and sightings, so that you could understand the vast difference between everyday sharks and White pointers, anyway I removed the safety off the smokey and with 14 feet of hand spear extended, tried to prod him. He casually and arrogantly glided to the side, completed his circum-navigation of us while we clung feverishly to the anchor rope. Eyeing us with his gimleted unblinking black eyes, he casually mouthed the outboard leg, the harsh crunching sounds breaking the ominous silence as he tested the strange metallic object that dared to stay still before him, and then silently glided away. As the deco meter hit zero we jumped back in the boat, feeling a great sense of security with 3mm of aluminium between us and the water!
I have written this article mentioning the former White Pointer shark encounter hoping that you will see the difference between the encounter at Bird Rock and Cosy Corner.
Saturday the 10 December 2008 the sun beams down, clear skies, no wind, another magic day. We decide to shoot some fish and therefore we must go away from where other divers may go to look at the beautiful life beneath the sea. We head to Cosy Corner and run the boat well out, away from islands and pick a spot in open water where it’s about 15 metres deep. Throw on the Scuba gear, velcro strap the borrowed Freedom7 Sharkshield on to my ankle whilst having a shot at my buddy about wearing an old model Freedom 4 and we are good to go.
Over the side, visibility is good and I go straight to the bottom, already lining up some good sized Sea Sweep for dinner. I shoot 5-6 Sweep and after gutting them mid water decide I have effectively got sufficient dinner for both of us. After looking around to see if any Wobbegong sharks have come for the gut remains now drifted to the bottom, I caught sight of a large Queen snapper.
Away I go and decide this will be the last fish, pick the lateral line and with a good solid “thunk” I have my fish. With blood all round me I realise this will be the last fish as he is too big to get fully into the bag, so I pull out the hand spear paralyser’s prongs and with the Queenie’s tail sticking well out of the catch bag, I turn to go.
Whoa, what’s this; my buddy has a fearful expression on his face and is giving frantic shark signals. I can see nothing but decide “discretion is the better part of velour” so let’s get to the boat. Once in the boat my buddy finally becomes coherent and tells me how a 4-5 metre Grey and White shark arrowed down towards me as I was putting the fish in the catch bag. “It got to within 5-6 metres of you, gave an immense shiver, veered then departed as quickly as it came” he said. I shudder to think what may have happened with no Shark Shield as here is one of the most feared sharks, the White Pointer, lining up my catch for tea (maybe with me as dessert) and yet he departs as quickly as he came.
It’s the difference between encounters that interests me and the fact that he gave a shake, and then goes away and does not return.
Draw what you will from the story, but I am convinced that the Shark Shield works well even when the sharks are focused on feeding, so needless to say both my wife and I have now bought a Freedom7 each which we religiously wear swimming, snorkelling and Scuba diving.
Joe & Kerrie Baker
Albany Western Australia
John Walker, Diver, South Australia
Like hundreds of fellow South Aussies, curiosity to see sharks feasting on a whale carcass in Backstair’s Passage was too great to be ignored. Being a recreational diver I decided to use the opportunity to put my Shark POD* to the test in real conditions.
The Shark POD and footplate were fixed about 90cm apart to a buoy and submersed in the water with the POD just below the surface. The switch for the unit was accessible from the boat. It took several hours for a shark to come close enough, but finally one swam under the boat a couple of times. The shark returned swimming across the back of the boat. As it reached the port side of the boat it rolled on to its side readying for an attack to the motor. As the shark drew level with the prop I activated the Shark POD, which was submersed on the starboard side about 2 metres away from the outboard leg. The shark immediately shuddered and froze. After several seconds it veered sharply away from the boat and disappeared.
The cost of the Shark POD was certainly vindicated. Simply put, the Shark POD is as much a part of our dive equipment as the air tank.
*The shark POD is an obsolete product and no longer in production
Joseph Burke, Spearfishing Guide & Commercial Abalone Diver, Vanuatu, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, & Niue
As a spearfishing guide in Australia and the Coral Sea, often 200 miles from shore, I, Joseph Burke, have had occasion to swim with many sharks. My job is often to cut bait in the water with sharks to attract Dogtooth Tuna and other prized fish. As I am holding the bleeding fish the sharks are interested in me and are unconcerned with the other spear fishermen around me.
On average I push 5 sharks a day away from me as they came in for a feed on the bait I was holding. 3 years ago after the diver doing my job on the boat, a week before I was to arrive, was bitten by a bronze whaler I decided to try an Ocean Guardian. To my amazement I was unable to reach a shark to push it away with my spear gun because, at about 2 meters out, the sharks would turn away.
I never guide now without my Ocean Guardian and I have had occasion to use it on sharks in Vanuatu, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand and Niue.
It’s not as exciting diving with my Ocean Guardian, but it is a lot safer.
Justin Baker, Spearfisher, Florida, United States
Used my Ocean Guardian a few days ago for the first time honestly not by virtue at first but circumstance… I shot a nice mutton snapper at 60 feet with only about 25 feet visibility and right before I hit the surface a bull shark showed up and decided my fish looked like a good snack… Despite my best efforts I lost the fish and now had shark on the brain. I went back to the boat and put the Ocean Guardian on. Immediately I felt more comfortable diving in the murk and didn’t lose another fish while still seeing a few more sharks. And just to answer a few questions before they are asked, yes I got shocked/no it wasn’t that bad and it was definitely far less of a pain in the butt to dive with than I expected!
I had a close encounter with a hungry big bull shark three days ago and wanted to say thanks for saving my life! I was spearfishing on the Great Bahama Bank and had just shot a large hog fish. After wrestling it from underneath a ledge, I turned and looked up to push off the bottom toward the surface. I was 40 feet deep and hugging the fish to my chest. To my surprise, I made immediate eye contact with a very thick eight foot bull shark coming full speed in attack mode directly toward me. Amazingly, when it got within 10 feet, it turned 90 degrees to the right, swam to the bottom and disappeared into the distance. I have no doubt that if I was not wearing the FREEDOM7, I would have been badly injured, and lost my trophy hog fish! I have had the Ocan Guardian for more than five years and will never be without it while spearfishing. Thank you.
Lieutenant Robert C Pigman, Orlando, USA
Lieutenant Robert C Pigman (Deputy SWAT Team Commander, Orlando Police Department City of Orlando, USA)
I bought the FREEDOM4* system and used it for the first time this past Sunday. I found that the peace of mind alone was well worth the cost.
I purchased the unit from Rosalind (SeaChange USA) who was very helpful in my decision to purchase this product, as she answered all the questions I had about the system.
I feel people should be aware of the information about this product with the increasing number of shark bites we have experienced recently in Florida.
*FREEDOM4 is an obsolete product and no longer in production
Pat Johnson, Spear Fisherman, Virginia, USA
On 9th August 04 I was freediving a wreck off the coast of Hatteras, NC and I had speared a wahoo. After the fish’s second run I began to pull my line in and noticed the fish was being eaten by a large barracuda. I was disappointed needless to say, but what happened next was amazing. Two of my dive buddies were nearby and we saw a large bull shark coming straight up off the bottom at top speed toward the speared remains of the wahoo.
When the bull got in range of the Ocean Guardian he immediately stopped, almost as if he hit a wall, and returned to the bottom as fast as he had come up for the wahoo. Awesome! If the shield stopped a charging bull shark on its way to a ‘fish on a stick’ then this product really works well.
Paul Hosie, Diver, Perth, West Australia
If faced with a five metre white pointer in the waters off Western Australia, not many people would swim toward it to get a closer look but that’s exactly what Paul Hosie did over the weekend.
Mr Hosie says he has seen plenty of large marine life underwater including whale sharks, manta rays and seals but this was his first encounter with the ocean’s top predator.
Paul Hosie was diving at the HMAS Swan wreck site just off the coast of Dunsborough on Sunday when he noticed a big black shape go past him just 10 metres away.
“When I looked at it there was no doubt what it was; it was dark above with white below, just the enormous bulk of it and a massive tail fin.”
The unmistakable sight of a great white shark would leave most people swimming in the opposite direction but Mr Hosie was fascinated by the sight and wanted to get closer.
“After about five minutes of observing it, I decided that I wanted a closer look. A lot of people would say that was a foolhardy stupid thing to do but I had an Ocean Guardian and I know the behaviour of these things.
“People are taken from the surface, that’s how these things feed and attack not at depth, not normally.”
Mr Hosie is an ex-Navy member who has been recreational diving for 18 years and was diving with his fiancee Christie at the time. He says he has seen many sharks over the years but this was by far the largest shark he has seen while diving.
Mr Hosie and his partner were wearing an ‘electronic shark deterrent’ at the time, which is a device that straps around the ankles with an antenna hanging below the diver which emits an electric field that induces spasms in a shark’s snout.
However, the effectiveness of the device was about to be tested by Mr Hosie as he swam down away from the wreck and down to the ocean floor, the same level as the shark.
“It actually did take an interest in me because something had moved into its space and it swam straight towards me from about 20-30 metres away.
“At about 10 metres away when it was still heading straight towards me and I established eye contact, that’s when I thought, ‘maybe this wasn’t such good idea’.
“But I had faith in my Ocean Gaurdian otherwise I wouldn’t have been wearing it and about 5 to 7 metres away, it turned away from me.”
Mr Housie has been wearing the electronic shark deterrent since a fellow diver was killed by a great white in 2008 at Port Kennedy, a location that Mr Hosie frequently dived.
“I don’t go diving to put my life at risk; I dive to enjoy the experience so from then on I’ve worn an Ocean Guardian all the time.”
You can listen to Paul Hosie’s full interview with ABC’s Geoff Hutchison above where he describes his close encounter with a great white shark.
My brand new replacement unit arrived yesterday and I just wanted to thank you for your great service and no-fuss approach to business. Like a lot of divers I bought an Ocean Guardian after a bad encounter with a great white.
Knowing something wants to eat you without sustaining an injury from its prey (me and my spear) is quite chilling. It took me a while to get my mojo back!
My second encounter with an even larger GWS went differently – probably because I was wearing an Ocean Guardian. The shark came up, checked out me and the kingfish I’d just speared and kept going.
I often spearfish alone or separated from the group and the Ocean Guardian is a reassurance – as much psychological as physical. We’re seeing more and more large sharks in Sydney waters and also in NZ where I often dive. I’ve had to physically fend off whalers plenty of times in the past – but never when wearing an Ocean Guardian. I’ll be taking the new unit to Tonga on a trip in August.
Thanks for helping make me feel more at ease in the water.
Ray Klefstad, Diver Florida, USA
I was wearing a Shark Shield while diving off Florida in the gulf. We were about 20 miles off-shore diving some wrecks. My friend had caught a small black fin tuna which we cleaned off the stern of the boat. We later jumped in and the area was swarming with brownish sharks (I’m guessing Lemon Sharks). There were also many large jewfish and barracuda hanging around the wreck.
We continued to free dive around the area, but there were sharks everwhere. At one point, I heard my buddy scream from the surface.
I looked over and one of these sharks was charging right at him from the depths. I quickly turned on my shark shield and swam closer towards him. We both approached my buddy and the shark clearly reacted to the shock from the Shark Shield and bolted away.
We got out of the water and decided not to clean any more fish over the side of the boat in an area we were diving.
Rene Spruyt, Abalone Diver, Australia
In August ’99 I was trying to erode the remaining 2 tons of my yearly abalone quota, I decided to work Weirs Cove at the western end of Kangaroo Island, which normally is a difficult area with large swells, but with the right weather, a days catch there is worth 2 or 3 elsewhere.
Visibility was incredible. At a depth of 10M the vis was about 35M. My bag was half full and I was working outside the cage and changing position – that’s when I saw it!
This Great White was BIG, 5M at least and coming straight in. The cage was too far away, but almost between me and the shark. It came directly towards me, but as it got to approximately 5M from the cage it shook and almost turned inside out – that’s when I realised it had hit the “Shark POD field” that I had set up on the cage.
My relief diver had previously had a similar experience and had told me that “Shark PODs* work”. Now I believe him.
*Shark POD is an old obsolete product and no longer in production
The following information is from a blog on Western Angler. Shark Shield has also been made aware of this event by several other sources who have spoken directly to Geoff & his wife.
Geoff had just bought some new dive gear and wanted to test it out prior to the cray season. Both Geoff and his wife took their 7 mtr ally boat to Busselton (Western Australia) where they launched and headed to a calm patch of water in Meelup Bay. This was about 1 week after the body boarder got taken at Bunkers. This was also Geoff’s wife’s first boat dive.
They had enjoyed some time on the bottom when they decided to ascend to the surface from around 12 mtrs down. They were near the boat and Geoff was several metres’ ahead of his wife heading towards the transom.
Before getting on to the boat Geoff looked back at his wife and saw what he thought was a whale heading towards her. It instantly became apparent it was a massive white pointer as it came directly up to Geoff’s wife and stopped level with her, 3 metres away.
Geoff’s wife had a very clear view of the front of the shark and described how she could see every little wrinkle cut and ripple in its huge face.
After what must have seemed like an eternity the shark dropped to the bottom and at the same time Geoff made contact with his wife and he pulled her back to the transom.
As he was helping her to the back of the boat the white who was now on the bottom and directly underneath them, went from cruise mode to all ahead engines, in a split second it finned hard and arched up coming directly at them both with no sign of stopping.
At that point Geoff thought this was his last moments and was in disbelief thinking this is it, this how I’m going to die. As he watched the shark move in he realised that there was nothing left to do, at the last moment the great white hit the brakes and shook its head side to side like a person does as they walk into an unseen spider web.
The white then veered off and pushed into the blue. Not believing his luck Geoff got his wife on the transom but could not get up himself because she was blocking the way.
There was a certain amount of directness in his voice when he asked her to move into the boat. She was frozen and simply could not move. Geoff with a full kit of scuba gear pulled himself up over the transom and his wife and fell into the boat backwards. As he reached over to bring his wife in, the white cruised under the transom and hung around the boat for a few more moments.
Geoff also explained he had a Shark Shield on and is in no doubt that at the moment of pause that is what saved his life.
His wife did not have a shield and this may explain why the white sized her up and set up an attack from the bottom.
What the white didn’t bank on was the shield that now enveloped Geoff and his wife.
Geoff didn’t make the footage public out of respect for the very recent sad event that took place a few days earlier. He did call the police and after they got into the boat they headed towards the shore and warned nearby paddlers and swimmers.
Simon Jedreski, Snorkelling, Santa Fe, Phillipines
November 2018: Honestly I’ve never been able to have confidence in the ocean before I got the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7. Due partly to an encounter when I was young. It’s been awesome with managing my irrational fears!! I’m now able to explore the sea without hesitation. It really has been life changing for me.
Steve Robinson, Scuba Commercial & Wholesale
This industry has never had an answer to the biggest single factor that prevents students from learning to dive other than the denial that a problem exists and chances of shark attack are extremely minimal. What our industry fails to realize is that whether justified or not, shark phobia exists in the majority of people and their perception is a reality that cannot simply be explained away.
The bulk of our market is orientated to the existing trained diver. Following some recent shark incidents in our area, our sales of Ocean Guardian surpassed 150 units last year and I am convinced that many of our customers would have terminated their sport or their loved ones intervened to prohibit their participation if it were not for the “peace of mind “ that Ocean Guardian delivers. Following the recent shark attack, the only product we could sell was Ocean Guardian.
The shop owners that believe this product will accentuate a negative issue are not catering for the customers needs. Unfortunately for me those shops that held this historical attitude have now realized that their customers have been spending a good dollar in my shop so now marketing Ocean Guardian.
I remember when buoyancy vests were shunned by dive shops as was the Automatic Deployment Device for parachutes. Ocean Guardian is going through the acceptance stage and I can see the future when all divers will consider this piece of equipment as an integral part of their gear. I know when I sell a Ocean Guardian that the customer will stay diving forever.
Tim Miles, Dive Course Co-ordinator & Dive Instructor
When I was first introduced to Ocean Guardian I was a little hesitant to prominently display the product. It was just so revolutionary that I needed some time to ask questions to existing clients and new students and to make sure I was not highlighting what I believe to be the single biggest factor that prevents people taking up diving.
I can still remember the first time I mentioned to a new class that we would be wearing them on their first sea dive. Amazingly, although some of these males were rather macho, every student seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and statements followed like “I’ve been paranoid, but just didn’t want to broach the whole shark thing.”
From then on I realised I did not have a problem, and the word got around that we were offering “Shark Free Dive Courses.” The product was moved to a high visual area in the shop and customers we did not know walked in and bought it. This year we have sold many units, which has impacted well on our bottom line.
Our sales are to existing divers, surfers, swimmers, snorkellers and new dive students. One of the things that has helped us with sales to new and certified divers is the use of Ocean Guardian products for training and on the deco bar.
I personally have been diving for many many years and it wasn’t until a few months later, after wearing shark protection, that I realised that I too was even more relaxed. Sharks have never stopped me from diving, but they took the edge off sometimes.
One of the most disappointing aspects of my business is the time spent on training a novice only to see them not continue with the sport I love. I believe that shark protection will give them the confidence, after leaving the safe confines of the instructor, to venture by themselves.
This new technology will have a significant effect on all water users in the future.
Tim Thomas, Spear Fisherman, Queensland, Australia
Having just come off a boat, after 2 weeks spearfishing in the Coral Sea, I can say that the Shark Shield served me well. Many times I had half a dozen white tips after my fish and they couldn”t get close. One time I turned my shark shield off, burlied up, put my fish on a Bombie and then let the sharks come in numbers to get a smell. I then turned my shield on and as much as they were very determined, it was like they were getting punched in the head by a invisible fist. Felt good to have something like that on my leg. For me the shark shield worked even before I was in the water. Originally I was stuck between my love of the ocean and the fear of sharks. The Shark Shield gave me the Confidence to get water and I see for myself that this beautiful environment doesn”t warrant fear, only respect.
As a Free-diver and Spearfisherman, I am very careful selecting new gear as I am sensitive to any adjustments. The General Purpose Shark Shield unit made me a little unsure. In the water swimming with it, I was aware of it for the first 10-15 minutes. However, after some adjustments in my kicking I felt little difference. I deliberately dragged the General Purpose unit through stag-horn coral, caves and most every rough surface to see if it would get caught up, and in the last six months of regular diving I”ve had to reach back and unhook it twice. Its only 2m long.
Sure I notice it being there, its about the same drag as like a large knife on your leg. However, on the rare occasion when the men in grey suits turn up (sharks), I thank God its on there.
My thoughts on wearing the Shark Shield are similar to driving a car, “Why wait for a car crash to put your seat belt on?”
Tony Grogan, Technical Diver, USA
In the midst of a cloud of fish and blood I put the second grouper on the stringer. I am determined not to let these bulls have their way as they rush in trying to get to the fish during my slow ascent from 130 feet all the way up to the surface. As they charge in, I am glad that I have my Shark Shield turned on. This wonderful invention puts a protective electrical field around me that shocks the sensory receptors called Ampullae of Lorenzini in the shark”s snout. I love wearing the Shark Shield while spearfishing because it helps turn sharks away and causes them to think twice before accidentally or intentionally biting me.
The best version of the Shark Shield for spearfishing, in my opinion, is the Freedom 2 or 4 unit. The electronics and battery are in a neoprene pouch that is strapped to your calf. From this pouch extends a seven foot long tether antenna containing two electrodes, which trails unobtrusively behind the diver. I like this unit because it is easy to take on and off between dives and there is no interference with your kicking, you tend to almost forget it is there. The manufacturer says Freedom 4 is fast becoming the most popular unit for those who dive. Freedom 2 has a 2 hour battery pack, whereas the Freedom 4 has a 4 hour battery. I was an early adopter of this technology, having used it now for almost two years. I usually leave the Shark Shield turned off until I spear a fish, unless I already see sharks or the visibility is low. The Shark Shield can shock you and your fellow divers if the tether antenna is touched, but the tingle is not a bad shock.
The electric pulse the Shark Shield puts out every half-second only affects sharks, rays and skates. Other fish and marine creatures are not disturbed. It does not scare away the fish we are seeking to spear and it does not attract sharks to you. The effective protective range in my observations starts about ten to fifteen feet away as the shark approaches. His initial discomfort increases as he gets closer until it becomes intolerable. The shark then veers away. The bottom line is that this is a great product that works well. I will not leave home without it. The Shark Shield is the best solution for spearfishing with sharks on the market today.
Tory Goodall, Coastal Water Dive, Western Australia
Most of my customers would never admit to having shark phobia, until I admitted that I do!
One of our biggest markets here is spearfishing which puts them in the higher risk category because of the nature of attracting sharks. These guys tend to have a “macho” personality and the purchasing of an Ocean Guardian tends to attack their masculinity. We very successfully overcame this issue by promoting it to “save their catch”, this justified their purchase and kept their testosterone level high – everybody suffers from shark phobia, even these guys.
I believe I was one of the first shops that could see the potential of Ocean Guardian and got behind it. We rely on exhibitions and marine shows to promote awareness to our somewhat isolated regional location. The first time we promoted Ocean Guardian at such an event we sold over 50 units which paid for staff and outgoings from this single product. We learnt that the general public want this technology.
I constantly hear remarks such as ‘that will make me feel a whole lot better,’ and ‘now with one of those I will learn to dive.’
This year we anticipate selling 300 plus snorkel and dive units and the potential surfing market is approx. 4 times larger.
The bottom line profit from Ocean Guardian last year paid wages for 2 full time staff members – not bad for a one off product.
I have now justifiably devoted a whole section of my shop to promoting Ocean Guardian and even have a sandwich board on the pavement –THE NEW REVOLUTIONARY OCEAN GUARDIAN AVAILABLE HERE.
A great percentage of my sales are to parents, grandparents and family wanting to protect their offspring. I am convinced that many people using Ocean Guardian today would not have continued in their activity if it were not for Ocean Guardian.
You guys are on a winner, thank you for what you have done for my business!
Wayne, Professional Coral Diver Karratha, Western Australia
In the past 10 years I have done around 12,000 dives in open waters as a professional coral collector. For about the last 5,000 dives, I have used the Shark Shield Mariner and had it cable tied to my hooker line. In those 5,000 dives only once has a shark come into me. In this instance it was a large hammer head that came in to about 4 meters, then flinched and shot off. I did not see the shark for the rest of that dive.
When I take other divers out for a day and they do not use a Shark Shield, they have sharks come in on them an average of once every 2 dives. In the past 5000 dives I have onlys seen 4 sharks, all of which were off in the distance; I think this also speaks for itself. Recently, a friend of mine was pinned down for 30min by a 17ft shark while were were out on a dive together. It toook me a while to find him, but once I arrived the shark took off because I had the Shark Shield on and we never saw it again. Again I think that this speaks for itself.
I am in the water over 220 days of each year doing around 5 dives a day. I make it no secret that in a lot of places if I didn’t have the Shark Shield on, I wouldn’t dive. No question. Shark Shield has proved itself to me in those 5000 dives. Why anyone would get into Australian waters without one is a mystery to me, it’s cheap technology that will save your life one day. I know what its like to be alone in the water and have a huge shark circling you when you don’t have a Shark Shield. It has never happened to me with a Shark Shield on.
Professional coral diver
Adam “Trout” Traubman, Kayak Fisherman, Hawaii, USA
Aloha, Paul. I just wanted to touch base and thank you again for the Shark Shield. Your timing was impeccable, and I’ll expand on that later. I’d like to first clarify that sharks are obviously not looking to intentionally hurt human beings. They are highly misunderstood and often times punished for following their innate urge to feed on what it thinks it sees as edible, even though it may be a mistake (ie, shark hunt following an attack on a human). But when I am on the water and no longer at the top of the food chain, I can’t help but feel a little vulnerable… and rightfully so. With a wife and two kids and a third on the way, I promised them I’d try to minimize my risk-ridden hobbies, including kayak fishing and surfing “populated areas.” In the past, I have had run-ins with sharks in Mexico, California, and here in Hawaii. I would prefer to go out on my own terms, if you know what I mean!
Rewind to several weeks ago, I was relieved when I saw the FedEx driver pull up with the package you sent. I was preparing my gear for the following morning, where one of my close kayak fishing buddies and I were to be filmed for a fishing TV show. While there are sharks virtually everywhere in Hawaii, the secret spot we would be visiting was sharkier than the average fishery due to strong currents, prolific ledges/drop-offs, and an abundance of bait fish.
After several hours of good kayak fishing (ono, mahi mahi, kawakawa, uku, etc.), my buddy spotted two sharks below his kayak. The film boat moved up on him and one of the crew kept the bang stick close by. I saw another one off of my bow, and made sure my baits were out of the water and in the tank well. The shark was out of sight, but I still felt its presence. I calmly deployed the Shark Shield and in a fraction of a second there was a huge explosion about 25 feet away on the surface where a shark had slashed and spun around. It was gone and never came back (as far as I know, of course). I left the unit on and we didn’t see anything for the rest of the day, other than the fish we boated.
Can I live without a Shark Shield? Probably. Do I want to risk it when the situation could easily be avoided by using a Shark Shield? Definitely not.
David Incher, Surfer
The unit is well designed. Installing the pad on the board, charging and fixing the Ocean Guardian to the pad was relatively simple. The big advantage of the Ocean Guardian unit is the peace of mind it gives. Having used the unit about a dozen times, I have found that I am much more comfortable going surfing by myself or in ‘sharky’ locations/times of the day. If I am unsure which board to ride I go for the board with the Ocean Guardian attached (I am buying new pads for my other boards).
I had previously heard the argument that, as Ocean Guardian repels sharks, it may also repel other more desirable marine creatures such as dolphins. Nothing could be further from the truth as I had an amazing ride with a dolphin only inches from my board, mirroring my every turn and cutback for about 50 meters!
Gary Maclachlan, Kayaker, NSW, Australia
I have been using the Freedom 4 Shark Shield successfully for the last 3 months. I fish for pelagic game fish off the NSW coast, very often on my own. The Freedom 4 has granted me peace of mind when far out at sea on a solo fishing trip. I mount the device through the draining holes that are in the middle of the ski.
The wetsuit part goes under straps on the base of the ski and the cable hangs down through the holes. This results in the device offering protection directly below where you sit on the ski. I have witnessed the device deterring large hammerhead and tiger sharks. What happens is whilst fighting a fish like a king fish they generally circle a bit under the ski, this is when I normally loose the fish to sharks. However I have witnessed the sharks trying to get near to the fish but being deflected by the device as they get to close to it.
Jon Schwartz, Kayaker, California, USA
My name is Jon Schwartz. I was out in Honokohau Harbor in Kona kayak fishing with my wife today. While tying on a bait, I heard a splash, and we paddled toward it. Then a 12 foot tiger shark came up to check us out, it took a look at us and then started steaming for us.
I just got it (Freedom 4) the other day and so I didn”t think the charge would last the whole time we were out, so I had it at the ready, not expecting it would come to this. I had the antennae loosely coiled up in the back, and as it came at us I plopped the antennae in the water, and reached for the switch. My wife and I were hoping to God it would work. We didn”t know if it would. How would we know, I just read the manual two nights before in the hotel room. Well I turned it on, and thank God, it acted as if I annoyed it terribly, and turned tail with a splash and ran off.
I really actually owe my life to this thing; moreover it saved the life of my kid”s mom. This may sound like it”s too perfect to be true but it”s true, I only wish I had it on video. It”s the best $600 I ever spent!
Jon Schwartz, Kayaker, California, USA
My name is Jon Schwartz. I was out in Honokohau Harbor in Kona kayak fishing with my wife today. While tying on a bait, I heard a splash, and we paddled toward it. Then a 12 foot tiger shark came up to check us out, it took a look at us and then started steaming for us.
I just got my Ocean Guardian the other day and so I didn’t think the charge would last the whole time we were out, so I had it at the ready, not expecting it would come to this. I had the antenna loosely coiled up in the back, and as it came at us I plopped the antenna in the water, and reached for the switch. My wife and I were hoping to God it would work. We didn’t know if it would. How would we know, I just read the manual two nights before in the hotel room. Well I turned it on, and thank God, it acted as if I annoyed it terribly, and turned tail with a splash and ran off.
I really actually owe my life to this thing; moreover, it saved the life of my kid’s mom. This may sound like it’s too perfect to be true but it’s true and I only wish I had it on video. It’s the best $600 I ever spent!
Peter Loveday, Prawn Fisherman, Australia
All of my working life I have had to endure the endless problems that sharks have caused to my occupation. Loss of catch through torn nets and down time for repairs caused a dent in my bottom line profits, but I considered this an occupational hazard, which had to be expected and accepted.
I heard about this new Shark Shield product that was on the market, so as an experiment I purchased a personal diver unit and set it up on the top of the net. It kept the sharks away! Now I don”t drop my net unless the Shark Shield unit is fully charged, because, since purchasing the unit six months ago, I have not had one shark problem. They still follow the net up, but stay a few metres away thoroughly frustrated.
I contacted the manufacturers in Adelaide to tell them how well it worked and found out that they have two new professional units called ProLine and Mariner, which produce a larger field and adapts to our nets very easily. Recently I did an experiment by leaving the unit uncharged, amazingly the sharks got into the net. I won”t do that again.
The units are very robust, come with mains and 12V accessory charger and, apart from a fresh water wash, require very little maintenance.
This new technology has saved me time and money.
Stephen Waites, Sailing, Glenelg, South Australia
My name is Stephen Waites and I have been operating daily Dolphin swim tours out from Glenelg, South Australia, now for 7 years (started January 2001). I started using the Ocean Guardian devices after there were a couple of Shark fatalities in the area in which we operate from.
We started by using one Mariner Shark Shield, but have now upgraded to three. This is so we are able to offer our swimming customers full coverage of protection.
Temptation trails two mermaid lines from the Stern of the vessel, five metres apart in which the swimmers hold onto. In the centre of these lines we run the three Ocean Guardians at two metre intervals.
We would never operate a Dolphin swim without these devices.