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  • Paula Hastings

New Wet Suit around the Corner


Surfers subject themselves to the risk of encountering a shark every time they go into the ocean. As small as a risk it really is, it’s still substantial when you consider the fact that blood loss is the leading cause of death when it comes to a shark bite. A new wet suit material tested by Flinders marine researchers might just be the answer to reducing injuries and blood loss in the unlikely event of a shark encounter.

In a study published in Plos One, a notable peer-reviewed journal covering latest science and medical research, two types of protective fabrics that incorporate ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibers into widely used neoprene material in wet suits were tested. It was found that the enhanced neoprene was more resistant to punctures, lacerations and bites than that of those without.

According to Flinders University Associate Professor Charlie Huveneers, from the Southern Shark Ecology Group, the aim of the study was to assess the ability of the new fibers incorporated into neoprene to reduce injuries from great white shark offenses. They tested the new fabric on this particular species because these sharks are involved in fatal incidents more so than any other shark. The results showed that the fabric tested may provide some protection but there is still further research to be done.

Such innovation is always refreshing to see when it comes to protecting those who choose to swim with the sharks. It’s so important to keep in mind we are entering their world and it is up to us to learn to live with them rather than the other way around.


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