Sharkbanz is a magnetic shark repellent bracelet that has been very popular lately, especially thanks to the increased shark activity over the last couple of years. Contributor Erica Geary has been using one for several months and has written up her own Sharkbanz Review for this little device.
I bought a Sharkbanz bracelet after a local woman in San Diego was attacked by a great white shark while swimming in shallow water at San Onofre State Beach. She suffered serious injuries but survived. I would not have thought sharks would be that close to shore, but they often come closer than we think. Usually sharks are not a problem in the San Diego area, so it was quite a shock. The Los Angeles and Northern California area is no stranger to sharks so it’s understandable that they may swim south as well. San Onofre is one of the best surf spots in the area so I didn’t want to stop surfing there.
Even though I love surfing I was really scared to get back in the water after this incident. I stayed out of the water for about a month and then got fed up–that’s when I started researching shark deterrents for surfers. I had already overcome my fears of the ocean, big waves, rip currents, and stingrays and was not willing to let sharks deter me from my new passion. I needed some real research to put my mind at ease though. I had seen videos of differently colored wetsuits deterring sharks, but wanted something more practical. I saw an ad for Sharkbanz on Twitter and decided to look into it.
Shark Species And Research – Sharkbanz Review
After watching the research videos behind the making of Sharkbanz I decided to give it one a try. The magnet creates a strong electromagnetic field that disturbs the sharks sensitive electroreceptors. It does not harm the shark but causes discomfort, leading the shark to swim away. The videos even show baited dummies not being attacked while wearing the Sharkbanz. As soon as the Sharkbanz is removed, the dummy is attacked within minutes. The research has been tested on a variety of species of shark including hammerheads, bull sharks, black tips, and Caribbean reef sharks.
Unfortunately, the band did come with a warning against great white sharks (the very shark I was afraid of). Though testing has been done with some success, they warn that great whites attack at great speeds from far distances so they advise surfers to wear extra Sharkbanz but also caution that they may not be effective deterrents in this case. This was discouraging to me, but with a lack of other available products, was my best option. Other options were really expensive (Shark Shield and NoShark), impractical (Anit-Shark 100), or seemed to lack research to back their claims (Shark Shocker). There is currently no great solution to the shark attack problem but many people are still conducting research to make better products.
That being said, I do feel much safer in the water while wearing my Sharkbanz. Even before the shark attack I used to constantly scan the water and worry about sharks. Sharkbanz gives me the peace of mind that I am at least reducing my risk of an attack. This allows me to focus more on the waves and having fun! I find myself forgetting that I am wearing the Sharkbanz when nothing is wrong and feeling reassured when I do see unexpected movement in the water. I would definitely recommend the product to any timid surfer or water adventurer. I even recommend it to confident surfers when in dangerous waters. There’s no harm in reducing the risk of an attack!
Sharkbanz also makes a shark leash (in conjunction with Modom) if you don’t want to wear the band. I would prefer this option but it is way more expensive ($130). If they were to drop the price to the same amount as the Sharkbanz I would definitely choose the leash instead. It looks like any other surf leash and uses the same technology to deter sharks. This eliminates a lot of the bulk and embarrassment of wearing the band in the line up. Apart from the price, another setback is that the leash is also only 6 feet so if you’re not on a shortboard it won’t work well. This makes the band the only option for me for now as a longboarder.
Pros And Cons
- Though not a guarantee, they limit the risk of a shark attack.
- They have been thoroughly tested with great results.
- So far, I have not been attacked by a shark (knock on wood).
- I have seen pro surfers wear them in sharky waters.
- They give peace of mind so you can enjoy your surf.
- The band is easy to attach and you can cut it to your preferred length.
- The design is bulky and ugly. If you don’t want it to be obvious you are wearing Sharkbanz, too bad. It sticks out like a sore thumb (I’ve been made fun of on the beach multiple times so make sure you’re good with a little public humiliation).
- The storage box gets wet and smells funky but you can’t store it in the open or it can mess up electronic devices. They should invest in making more durable boxes.
- They are expensive! $69 bucks seems a bit steep even for a badass magnet.
- They are not a 100% guarantee against shark attacks.
Since purchasing my Sharkbanz I have been surfing 3 times a week or more. I am happy to say that I have overcome my fear and am back in the water. I know a magnetic band seems silly to a lot of people but it has given me the confidence boost I needed to get back out there. When I don’t surf I really miss it as it adds a lot of joy to my life. I am not 100% sold on Sharkbanz but I do feel it is the best, most affordable option on the market at this time. If something better comes up in the future I will definitely pursue other options. Overall Sharkbanz has some good ideas but can definitely improve their products. Despite some of the flaws, I still wear mine and tell my friends to get one too.