SAMS Shark Deterrent Surf Range Wetsuit
These stripes could keep you from becoming shark bait
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Sure, the wetsuit looks like its designers took cues from a prisoner uniform, but don’t be fooled by the wacky stripes: this product could save your life. Maybe.
SAMS (or Shark Attack Mitigation Systems) makes wetsuits designed to deter sharks by using patterns and colors that allegedly make the wearer look less like a tasty snack and more like a poisonous one. The folks at SAMS teamed up with the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia to figure out the best colors, shapes, dimensions, and contrast to keep sharks at bay.
They came up with two wetsuits, one intended for surfers and the other for divers. You can also buy a sticker with the same stripes to attach to the bottom of your surfboard for extra protection.
Now, scientists don't know exactly what repels sharks, a fact SAMS makes quite clear. (Its site warns “All sharks are dangerous and unpredictable creatures. It is impossible for SAMS to guarantee that 100% of sharks will be deterred under all circumstances with the SAMS technology.”) Current test are ongoing and still in their early stages, according to the company.
The takeaway: if you’re in the water and you see a shark, you'd best still exit quickly, no matter what wetsuit you’re wearing.