Humans and sharks: curious though both species may be, we are certainly not a match made in heaven. When it comes to sharks, most people’s feelings generally ride a not-so-fine line between intrigue and absolute, maximum caution.
With their razor-sharp teeth and appetite for living flesh, they’re not the kind of animal humans feel comfortable testing the waters with (pun very much intended).
After all, one (not necessarily) fun fact about sharks is that they’re made up almost entirely of sharp triangles…from their teeth, to their fins, to the very microscopic cells making up their skin.
But that doesn’t mean the option isn’t there – in fact, there are those brave, trusting souls who have devoted their lives to swimming as safely as possible with sharks, despite the fact that total safety is never truly an option, and “as safely as possible” is their best bet. These are people who swear by the reward of their underwater time with these majestically powerful and beautifully terrifying creatures far outweighs the risk. And there are so many more people than them who wish that they could conveniently go and do the same.
Enough people, at least, that someone finally decided to make it possible. Australian scientists have finally engineered a shark-proof wetsuit.
Surrounded by beaches in every direction and with more local shark sightings than almost anywhere else, it’s no surprise that Australia would be the first place to take on the shark challenge. The shark-proof wetsuit is made out of extra-strong, ultra-high molecular weight plastic fibres, combined with traditional wetsuit neoprene materials. Tests have proved successful so far, with the team taking both knife slashing to the material…and actual great white sharks. Though they haven’t yet been tested on actual humans, one thing seems promising: the potential to cut through is greatly reduced, which should lead to smaller and shallower punctures if a shark attack does occur, resulting in less bloodshed and making them less risky to people.
Okay, so maybe most people aren’t sitting at home dreaming about swimming with sharks. But at least surfers everywhere can rejoice!