Need Some Shark Deterrent Inspo? 🦈

Need Some Shark Deterrent Inspo? 🦈

Today I’ve got a wicked story from Bruce down in Esperance WA.

Being a Surf Coach in what some call the nation's shark capital…

He knows all too well about people's fear of sharks.

So he used SurfPaints with his students to paint visual deterrents on their boards to help them deal with this fear and as an opportunity to teach his students more about sharks - read his story for yourself below:

G’day. I’m Bruce a Surf Coach and Aquatics teacher at the local school here in Esperance WA.

In our town we have had several, recent Shark incidents, some being fatal and it is to be expected the town is on high alert for their presence.

This has been rather hard for me and my work as a surf coach and Aquatics teacher, however on a whole the groms are still frothing and I have Surfpaints to thank in this weird limbo land of, “is it safe to take my class surfing today or not?!” climate.

In this interview, I will explain how Surfpaints have contributed to some great lessons and continued enjoyment of our beautiful ocean despite the perceived threat of sharks and their interactions with us.  

Although an attack is still highly unlikely, I felt it necessary to discuss sharks and how we could possibly mitigate and prevent further incidents with my classes. I sent students off to research what they could find out in the way of visual shark deterrents or camouflage for surfers and their equipment.

A wide range of images and results were discovered ranging from Stripy Sea Snakes/fish, to eyes, orca silhouettes, more stripy black and white patterns, and ocean camouflage patterns.

Students were then given several A4 draft surfboards to colour and design with these concepts and research results in mind.

After each student had designed a visual shark deterrent, we voted on which were the best concepts. Choosing 5 designs to put on our school surfboards. I was blown away by these designs, some simple and effective others intricate and detailed with definite artistic flare.

Next, I allowed students to work in groups so that we could maximise our productivity and progress in the allocated time slots available to my classes.

Students needed to prep the bottom of the surfboard. This was simply done with window cleaner and tea towels to clean dust and or dirt from the boards.

Then students started sketching their designs onto the board. This was done in several ways. Some used whiteboard markers, others used soft pencils. Then masking tape was used to help block out areas.

Once sketches were completed, we got to work with the Surfpaints. I had used them before on my own surfboard and had enjoyed how simple and versatile they were, so it was an easy choice to use these over other products.

Finally, I sealed each bit of artwork with an acrylic fixative. I chose a gloss finish as this really made the designs shine and come to life.

I did this without students present in a well-ventilated area using a mask and eye protection.  

I’m sure with further time and resources students could have been involved with this process however, I felt it safer to take this one for the team.

The Engagement students had with this task was excellent, students felt invested that they were having a direct impact on their own and others' safety with their designs on the boards. The pride and focus shown in these sessions were rivalling actually being in the water and surfing.

Students should be proud of what they have achieved with their designs and efforts.  I am looking forward to doing this Surfpaints activity with the next group of students in my class.

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