Shark Resistant Suit

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Shark Resistant Suit

Postby Freeryde » May 18th, 2017, 10:23 am

There has been a lot of shark talk lately around San Clemente. Great whites from 6 to 10 foot are spotted almost every day right up on the beach. Most days there are at least a few in the same area in north SC/ Capo Beach. This is about a mile from where my kids will be spending hours in the water every day with the Jr. Lifeguards program as well as surfing on their own. I also have two 10 day dive trips to the Bahamas and Dry Tortugas as well as some planned dives on the wrecks in west Florida with the kids as well. In these areas we will be diving in close proximity to hundreds of sharks. All of this has me thinking a lot about shark deterrents and protection. Both myself and my kids are no strangers to diving with sharks but I was thinking that maybe there is some level of protection that we could create. Actual shark suits made of stainless steel chain mail work very well but cost around $10,000 :eek: Last week while filleting a YT, I was looking at the protective glove that I sometimes use to cut fish, especially after I am a few beers in :obscene-drinkingcheers: This is a Kevlar glove that has a stainless weave as well and stands up to even an aggressive slash with a sharp fillet knife. They make sleeves as well in the same material and even stretchy lycra pants with Kevlar panels, or dyneema weaves sewn in that are cut resistance level 5. I know these materials do not withstand punctures well so a stab with a knife will poke through (although with less penetration than without). A sharks teeth would no doubt poke through the material but my thought was that maybe the shark bite would leave the punctures from each tooth but not slice through and remove the entire bite of flesh. I am not expecting protection from a full size white shark or Tiger but am hoping to lessen the damage from a smaller shark like a juvenile GWS, reef sharks, small bulls, etc. So does anyone have any info on the effectiveness or lack thereof of these "super materials" ??
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby chris oak » May 18th, 2017, 6:33 pm

I've never heard of any bite tests using any of that dynema material Joe, my guess if there was any shark deterrant effectiveness it would have been touted as so. I know the pressure of a bite from a big one would probably break bones but I'm not sure of the pounds per square inch a juvie would have. I know that the juvie gws have a bit different shaped teeth than adults, not fully triangular like an adult and more mako like.
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby mori » May 18th, 2017, 10:25 pm

The only fabric I know that would make a decent shark suit would be the ceramic super fabric used on the Hexarmor gloves. This super fabric is a flexible fabric that has a bunch of hexagon shaped super-hard ceramic dots on it and when layered correctly will make a suit pretty puncture proof.

I was introduced to the Hexarmor gloves from a bunch of guys in Florida who uses them to eradicate the Lionfish infestation. They seem to handle the Lionfish with no problems getting punctured. I got me a pair and started using them for Lobster diving and since then, I don't end up with battle scars at the end of a successful bug diving trip. I am no longer afraid of those moray eels, I just stick my hand in the hole and slap them in the face. My buddy got bit by one of them and nothing happened. I can crush a sea urchin in my hands with these gloves and you can take a needle and stab yourself without the needle penetrating. I tried to cut thru them on my knuckles with a sharp filet knife and all it does is dull the knife. They are not insulated, so your hands do get cold, but the benefits of not getting cut or stabbed outweigh the cold hands. I've been using them in Mexico, and find that they are the perfect dive glove. I stuck my hands in grouper and pargo gill-rakers without getting a scratch. I'd bet if you stuck your hands in a shark's jaw with these, you might get your hands crushed, but it won't cut through.

I like these gloves so much I became a dealer for them. If you wanna test your gloves (or any gloves) against these, bring them by the shop and we can compare them for cutting and stabbing resistance.

If you can have Hexarmor make you a suit of this fabric, I'd bet it'll be the best shark suit out there. It's light weight, unlike the chain mail suit, and probably more puncture proof. If you get bit by a white shark, you'd probably get some crushed bones, as you would with the chain mail suit, but at least you won't get cut and lose a arm or leg.

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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby Behslayer » May 19th, 2017, 7:51 am

My take on this is that Sharks have such a Keen sense of smell... If you can figure out the smell they find repulsive, that's the go. I know sometimes sharks attack people wearing wetsuits. I also sometimes just grab something that looks like food and eat it. But if there's a strong smell of shit in the area, I'm going to be more careful what I grab.

I keep going back to these tests I saw on a show using a solution made from decomposed shark carcasses. Be nice to have that stuff in a spray bottle, or on a sponge. You're out 150mi with Keith Love and shoot a huge wahoo, clip a weighted sponge on the shooting line and it sinks down to your wahoo and clears the sharks. Your going to put your toe in the water in Southern Ca. or Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod, give a little spray on your suit.. might stink to high hell though.
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby breezy » May 19th, 2017, 5:02 pm

I think it was in a book called "the devils teeth" about he faraloe (sp?) islands and the great whit sharks and researchers on the island. There was a couple pages I remember about how Killer whales would attack and kill great whites. the moment one Great white was killed all the sharks in the area booked it, like not just left the immediate area, went 20-40, 50 miles away and deep according to sat tags. They wouldnt leave when the orcas showed up, just if one was bite, might have something to do with the smell of the organs of the gws
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby Freeryde » May 20th, 2017, 7:49 am

Mori:
Thanks for the reply. I have been thinking about getting some hex gloves for a while but was not sure which ones out of the dozens they make to buy? Hex makes full sleeves as well as leg protection now. My thought was to sew these into a full body stinger suit that I already have. The problem I ran into is how do you sew a material that is "needle proof" :confusion-shrug: the other matietials I have been looking at are not needle resistant at all and have many small holes to sew through. Maybe you can recommend some gloves for me and possibly get me the XL arm guards and leg gaiters as well?? I think if I could sew in hex arms and legs and Kevlar/stainless loop into the body of the Lycra stinger suit I would have a good amount of protection against small and medium shark bites. Maybe not shark proof but for sure lessen the damage and survive a bite with legs and arms intact :D For me this is not shark paranoia. I have had multiple sharks take fish out of my hands in Florida and have had a bull bite my fin. If the suit makes me more comfortable and dive better it's worth all the effort.
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby Freeryde » May 20th, 2017, 7:56 am

BTW the white sharks are staying in San Clemente/Capo beach. They put up new signs every day they spot sharks. Now it is so regular that the life guards are just crossing out the date and writing in the new date on the old signs :rolls: the sharks I have seen seem to be mostly in the 8' range with a few 10-12' ones mixed in here and there. This is on my way home so I stop and watch them on my way home from work
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Re: Shark Resistant Suit

Postby mori » May 22nd, 2017, 12:21 pm

Freeryde wrote:Mori:
Thanks for the reply. I have been thinking about getting some hex gloves for a while but was not sure which ones out of the dozens they make to buy? Hex makes full sleeves as well as leg protection now. My thought was to sew these into a full body stinger suit that I already have. The problem I ran into is how do you sew a material that is "needle proof"


I have several style gloves in stock, but the ones I like and recommend are the mechanic style gloves. They have plenty of puncture resistance on the palms and fingers, but not so much material on the back of the hands. The hexarmor material is very pliable, but it does not stretch., so having the material on the back will make for a stiff glove when you clench your fist. I sell these gloves for $45. There are two types, the ones made in Vietnam and the ones made in China. The ones made in Vietnam are the good ones, and the ones that I carry. Although they share the same puncture resistance material, the suede like leather material on the outside of the glove wears out more quickly on the ones made in China. I had a sample of the sleeve, but they are really baggy and you only get one, (not a pair) when you order them. I suppose you can glue them on the outside of your suit if you are that paranoid about shark. Oxycheq makes a BC wing out of this material for guys who do wreck and cave diving and you need something that won't get cut. You can take a sharp razor blade to them and it don't cut through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXx_XflRke4
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