Surfer creates device protecting people from shark attacks

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 22:20:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Recent shark sightings along the California coast, including a near deadly attack, have many people in the water worried about the possibility of being bitten as they head to the beach this summer.

On April 29, a mother from Vista almost lost her leg when she was attacked at San Onofre State Beach. And on May 10 about 15 sharks were spotted circling near San Clemente.

It's a fear Sharkbanz co-founder Nathan Garrison has always had in the back of his mind. 

"The issue of sharks has always been important to me because my best friend was attacked by one when we were teens growing up in South Carolina," said Garrison. 

He always wondered why there were there were no practical solutions to keep sharks away. After doing some research, he found one - disrupt the shark's electroreception, that's what they use to navigate murky water and to hunt. 

"The predatory sharks species most commonly responsible for attacks on humans, all have the most powerful electrical senses," said Garrison. 


For the past decade, a group of researchers has been studying permanent magnets and their ability to disrupt shark senses without harming them.

Garrison and his father teamed up with them to make the technology accessible to anyone.

Sharkbanz generates an electromagnetic field around a person, which is unpleasant for the shark. It can go on your wrist, ankle or a surf leash. 

"It's designed to give you some defense instead of relying on luck alone," said Garrison. 

Like any safety device, Garrison says it's not fool-proof. But they are hearing of success stories from around the world.

They're also working with a surf school in San Onofre this summer to provide Surfbanz to clients. 

Garrison says 3 percent of their proceeds goes to ocean and shark conservation.