Calling all surfers! Shark-bite resistant wetsuit in the works

Australian researchers have started testing a new fabric for wetsuits in a bid to prevent devastating and fatal injuries from shark attacks.

The research is being done at Adelaide’s Flinders University who has been awarded A$90,000 (R875,000) New South Wales government grant to develop this protective suit.

According to Charlie Huveneers, head of the Southern Shark Ecology Group (SSEG) research lab at Flinders University, the suit could prevent large wounds suffered by surfers and swimmers in attacks.

Shark attacks are very rare events and when they happen they attract media attention. These bites can have big consequences, some physical and some mental.

Charlie Huveneers, Head of the Southern Shark Ecology Group (SSEG) research lab - Flinders University

Excessive blood loss is most often the reason for shark bite fatalities and these new suits would help reduce this. It would not be able to prevent the shark's jaws breaking bones.

Even though they are rare events, I think it is important that we can to reduce the likelihood of these events and reduce the likelihood of dying from a shark bite. We have a responsibility to try and reduce those events.

Charlie Huveneers, Head of the Southern Shark Ecology Group (SSEG) research lab - Flinders University

The material used for the suits would be similar to Kevlar, a heat-resistant, strong synthetic fibre typically used for bullet and stab-resistant body armour.

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


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