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Canberra surfers create 'Sharkstripes' stickers to hide from sharks

A Canberran entrepreneurial duo has designed an affordable shark deterrent product for surfers, which aims to save the lives of both humans and sharks.

Jeremy Kenny and Michael Ridout-Allan both grew up in Canberra and spent their weekends surfing the south coast.

After an increase in shark attacks nationally, they decided to act.

Six months ago, the duo quit their jobs to focus on creating a small business, called Sharkstripes, which they launched online last week.

The aim is to provide surfers with peace of mind, sharks with less incentive to attack, and a product available to all.

The duo designed black-and-white-striped, marine-grade stickers for the bottom of a surfboard, and a striped neoprene sleeve which is slipped over the foot and worn on the calf.

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Research suggests sharks see in black and white, so the monochrome stripes break up a surfers silhouette. Basically, the product differentiates seals from surfers.

Mr Kenny, now based in Tweed Heads, believes in the widely-held school of thought that in the majority of attacks, sharks mistake humans for seals, their "favourite food".

He cited fellow Aussie Mick Fanning's encounter at Jeffreys Bay as an example.

"We'd rather use a non-invasive way for people to continue to enjoy the ocean, rather than end up killing sharks to save humans," Mr Kenny said.

"This is a way of helping sharks not get into trouble and therefore killing the argument for people to kill them."

The idea is not new. Full wetsuits have been created in the same vein, backed by researchers from the University of Western Australia.

The difference is, a new wetsuit retails for upwards of $300. Sharkstripes can be worn year-round, and retail for less than $55.

Mr Kenny said it was also a "nature knows best kind of thing".

"[Researchers have] also noticed a lot of marine life use black and white stripes, and a fair few are poisonous.

"It makes sense, even just based on that ... They've evolved over millions of years to deter predators," he said.

He said while the product could never claim to be 100 per cent effective, it would make you "less tasty than your mates".

"It should be seen as one way to reduce the already low risk," Mr Kenny said.

"Think of it as like wearing a helmet on a bike, or personal protective equipment on a work site," he said.

Sharkstripes are available at sharkstripes.com.au.