CHARLESTON, SC Oct. 7, 2014 – Shark. Just one mention of the ancient jagged-toothed creature that lurks beneath the waves fascinates our culture as much as it inspires fear. This image is amplified annually through the beloved Sharkweek program, which has run for more than 25 years. People know the chances of a shark attack are minimal, but we have a hard time silencing the fear that we could be the unlucky one.
Nathan and David Garrison, surfers, divers, and Co-founders of Mano (the Hawaiian word for Shark), say they and fellow surfers share a heightened fear of sharks because they spend so much time in the ocean. Nathan is quick to note, “We always hear the ‘lightning vs shark attack’ statistic but feel like it doesn’t accurately represent our true chances of a shark encounter, which seems much higher.” Garrison started considering whether or not he would use a product that would reduce the chance of shark attack without looking ridiculous or impacting performance in the water. “ It quickly became my intention to add some peace of mind to the wonderful experience of being in the ocean.”
Nearly three years ago, Mano partnered with Marine Biologists Patrick Rice and Eric Stroud, founders of SharkDefense, to develop a deterrent product that not only wards off sharks, but also offers a simplistic design free of batteries and chemicals that isn’t an eyesore at the beach. Sharkbanz, with an aesthetic inspired by the latest fitness bands, uses powerful, patented magnetic technology to deter sharks without harming them by interfering with their electroreceptors, or Ampullae of Lorenzini.
According to Stroud, “once the shark enters the magnetic field put out by Sharkbanz, it’s like having an unpleasant and temporarily blinding flash of light in your eyes.” The watch-like band can be worn on an ankle or wrist, and the clasp system was developed to accommodate a wide range of sizes. “That was one of our biggest challenges,” says David. “We went for a one-size-fits-most approach, rather than creating a number of different sized bands.” Designer, Randy Puzzitiello, was able to come up with a creative solution that Mano will be able to adapt to customer preferences as the product evolves.
The team wanted to design a product for everyone who spends time at the beach and in the ocean. Most shark attacks occur in shallow, murky water by smaller sharks that are more curious than hungry. According to Mano and SharkDefense, these “hit and run” attacks are what Sharkbanz prevent best, by protecting people, and sharks.
Garrison intends to do more to protect sharks than just keep them away from swimmers with his “Banz”. Mano promises to dedicate 3% of its proceeds to conservation and non-profits, which work to protect and restore ocean habitats and ecosystems, as well as prevent shark finning. Nathan says, “The health of our oceans is at a critical juncture, and we must take action now more than ever to safeguard this habitat. Nearly everyone wants to help, but most people don’t know how. You can rest assured that every Sharkbanz purchase will help keep another sea turtle, dolphin or shark from harm. We like our toothy aquatic neighbors, but simply prefer they keep their distance.” Through the use of informative wit, educational videos and partnerships, Mano plans to keep fans of the brand informed on its efforts to eradicate shark finning and preserve the abundance of the ocean.
Mano hopes that by offering ocean goers a shark defense, they join the cause and protect sharks in return. The band, $39.99, is available for pre-order, with the final product expected to be shipped in late
November. Will you be the one without it?