Surfing legend's innovative solution to prevent shark attacks


An Australian surfing legend is calling for innovative technology that can detect shark movement to be implemented in California after a spate of attacks in the US state.

Personal trainer Maria Korcsmaros had a 2.8 metre great white shark wrap its jaws around her torso and almost rip her tricep off as she completed the first round of an ironman swim training session at Corona del Mar in 2016.

“It just came out of nowhere and then it was gone in a flash,” she told Fairfax Media.

Maria Korcsmaros recovers after being bitten by a shark in California in 2016. Source: AP

“My body was literally being held together by my wetsuit. But I got lucky, there was a lifeguard boat close by and they got to me within 20 seconds and saved my life.”

Just a year later, another woman, Leeanne Ericson, was victim to a shark at San Onofre State Beach, just 50km south of the location where Korcsmaros was attacked.

On the day of Ericson’s attack there were 27 sharks spotted along the Los Angeles coast.

Sharks have become a big problem in California in recent years. Source: Getty Images / Stock image

The west coast had nine recorded unprovoked shark attacks in 2017.

Shark attacks are also a continuing concern in Australia.

The last fatality in Australia was in 2017 in Esperance on the west coast where Laeticia Maree Brouwer had her leg torn off by a great white. Two people died in 2016. 

In 2015, shark attacks killed two people in Australia, while the year before five people died after fatal shark attacks, data from the Australian Shark Attack file says. 

Following the growth of sharks in the California area, former Australian world tour surfer Ian Cairns, believes the answer is to deploy innovative technology that scans the ocean floors, detects shark movement and sends warnings to lifeguards in the area.

Ian Cairns believes innovative technology can combat any further shark attacks. Source: Ian Cairns / Facebook

“This is clearly going to turn into something catastrophic,” he told Fairfax media.

Cairns has teamed up with Smart Marine Systems and is lobbying for the technology to be implemented to prevent any further shark attacks however it hasn’t been smooth sailing.

US Congress announced the trial of the clever buoys at Corona del Mar but no one will put down the $1 million to install and run six buoys for a year.

A sheriff’s helicopter detected a great white shark off Dana Point in Orange County, California in May 2017, and alerted surfers. Source: Orange County Sheriff’s Department

He said he believes researchers don’t have an accurate picture of the issue and that the technology would possibly lead to sharks and humans at least existing harmoniously in the same environment.

It appears crowd funding may now be the only option to get the project off the ground.