A shark-bite resistant wetsuit

Australian company Shark Stop developed a fabric that is resistant to shank bites, even from Great Whites, which they used in combination with bio based neoprene to make wetsuits for diving and surfing.

Annually, there are around 72 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, and five of those are fatal. While sharks are much less likely to attack than movies like Jaws would have you believe, when they do happen, divers and surfers are very vulnerable in the water.

Shark Stop developed what they call a space-age polymer nanofibre technology, which is resistant to shark bites. The fabric incorporates ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene nanofibre, or UHMWPE for not so short. It has a strength to weight ration 50% greater than Kevlar and 8-15 times greater than steel. The fibres are high modulus and abrasion resistant, as well as UV resistant and lightweight with low density.

The fabric has been tested independently field-tested on Great White Sharks in South Australia by Flinders University. The technology is widely used in ballistic protection and defense applications.

The wetsuits, made of bio-based neoprene, are outfitted with the UHMWPE fabric in strategic places to protect common bite sites. The technology aims to reduce the risk of fatal injuries due to blood loss from femoral artery damage (caused by deep lacerations to limbs from shark bites). The wetsuit is not designed to reduce crush injuries.

The suits, said not to limit flexibility, are currently available on Kickstarter in surfing and diving versions.

Images: Shark Stop