A Dunedin surfer who used to panic on hearing the shark bell
sound at St Clair is panicking no more.
Jeremy Buis now has a shark-repelling surfboard.
The keen surfer had seen a shark fin three times while
surfing, once off Aramoana and twice off St Clair.
However, ''Next time I hear it [the bell], I'm not sure I
will even get out of the water.''
The reason for his new-found confidence was watching the
Surfsafe device deter 5m-long white pointer sharks off the
coast of Stewart Island recently.
''While the device was turned on, not one fish was taken;
however, when [it was] turned off, they were destroyed. It
Mr Buis, who is the New Zealand distributor and installer of
the product, was involved in the New Zealand testing of the
device alongside its inventor, David Smith, who could not get
the testing done in Australia because of regulations.
The small electronic device, which was fitted to the bottom
of boards, sent an electric current that deterred predatory
sharks up to 6m away.
Mr Buis said he had used the device for the past six months
and likened it to wearing a seat belt in a car.
Because it weighed just 120g, the surfer did not notice it,
and one charge lasted for 10 hours' surfing.
Three people died from shark attacks off Dunedin beaches in
the 1960s: Les Jordan, at St Clair in 1964, Bill Black, at St
Kilda in 1967 and Graham Hitt, at Aramoana in 1968.