Shark repellent stops panic

Jeremy Buis, of Dunedin, is a convert to Surfsafe - a shark-repellent device retrofitted to...
Jeremy Buis, of Dunedin, is a convert to Surfsafe - a shark-repellent device retrofitted to surfboards. Photos by Gerard O'Brien.

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 convinced me.''

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.

Add a Comment







Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter