There are a lot of shark deterrents out there. It makes sense, too–spending the last minute-or-so of your life simultaneously being torn apart and drowning isn’t exactly… appealing. Much better to die peacefully in one’s sleep like Grandpa did, not screaming like everyone else in his car.
Shark Eyes, though, might be my favorite. Not because it works (and it might!), but because it’s so damn simple and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s just a sticker of some giant eyeballs. Remember that Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin puts a mask on the back of his head so Hobbes can’t sneak up on him? “I’ve finally thwarted your murderous recreation!” he says. It’s like that, except hopefully without the Hobbes reaction.
Although you probably understand how Shark Eyes is supposed to work, I’m going to explain it. Because sharks (and tigers, apparently) are giant pansies, they like to have the element of surprise when it comes to attacking, and slapping giant eyeballs on the bottom of your board makes them think they’ve been spotted. Then they get all embarrassed and go on their merry way, looking for a fat, stupid seal or some unsuspecting person in the lineup without giant googly-eyes on their board.
Shanan Worrall, the guy who founded Shark Eyes, is one of those people you probably should have heard of, but probably haven’t. He’s an abalone and shell diver, spear fisherman of some acclaim, and oh yeah, he won the Tube of the Year for this giant chunk of impossible:
Suffice to say, Worrall has spent a fair amount of time in the water. He’s been “involved in a number of shark attacks”, according to the Shark Eyes website.
“As experienced watermen from Australia, living and breathing the ocean, we’ve had countless first-hand encounters with sharks in their natural environment and have had to use all available means to defend ourselves from attack,” explained Worrall on the Shark Eyes site. “After losing a great friend to a shark attack, and then watching a fellow abalone diver just scrape through an attack, we were motivated to pass on the knowledge we have accrued and offer Shark Eyes to the public.”
Unless you’re an idiot, you know that there’s nothing that can 100 percent guarantee a shark won’t attack you. Shark Eyes comes right out and says that. “NO SHARK DETERRENT on the market currently is 100% fail-safe,” they write, “and neither is Shark Eyes.”
While there’s actually not a lot of research into how well Shark Eyes actually works, it just kind of… makes sense. “Shark Eyes works at the very initial stage of predation, before you may even be aware that the shark is present,” they explain. “In bad visibility, sharks can visually detect their prey 10-15meterss away. This makes Shark Eyes difficult to test in a true and non-baited environment. We must rely on nature’s anecdotal evidence, science, and ambassadors – which proves line of sight trickery is effective.”
And you know what? It’s cheap! $20 will get you a sticker. Sure, it might just be $20 worth of peace of mind, but it might be $20 of life-saving shark sticker!