HUMANS have managed to mitigate mosquitos, sidestep snails and repel rats - but fending off one of the country's most ferocious predators has remained an elusive task.
Newcastle entrepreneur-in-the-making Georgia King might have a solution, designing a shark-repellent surfboard and wetsuit for her HSC Design and Technology major work.
Initially, she planned to dummy it up in the garage with her dad, but with the help of JCD Surfboards owner Jamie Carr the end product might be able to go to market.
"You know how they say sharks have a sixth sense? It's like that, it doesn't harm them it's just an uncomfortable feeling," she said.
"I went in a little oblivious to how much work is in it, but it's been amazing."
The Hunter Valley Grammar School student's idea was to hybridise existing products, like wearable SharkBanz, into a surfboard and wetsuit.
There are four magnets underneath the board, which are imperceptible to the eye and are designed to have little impact on the number of waves a rider can catch.
The same idea goes for the wetsuit, with magnets in the wrists, arms and back and a clip that can go on life-jackets for fishers.
The magnets are designed to disrupt the shark's electrical receptors, driving them away from riders.
It's not in the testing phase just yet, but Mr Carr said if it works there is a huge market for shark-deterrent devices.
"I tried to talk her out of doing it with her dad because I knew it would be a mess, this way the quality is there and she can have a finished product at the end of the day that she can take away or learn to surf on," he said.
"I totally think if this concept did work there would be a massive market for it."
A 2018 Flinders University study found the effectiveness of five existing deterrents varied from 96 per cent to 40 per cent, while some had limited or no real effect.
The next stage involves testing, Design and Technology teacher Louise Hemsworth said, with a goal to create a high-quality product that could go to market.
"That's what we're aiming for, not a prototype system, we're trying to take it to the next level and go through the testing so if you wanted to take it to market you could," she said.
"The projects are really diverse and it's up to them, the only requirement is that it has to fulfill a genuine need or opportunity in society."
However, throwing someone onto a board in shark-infested waters was ethically out of the question.
Luckily the school's head of faculty has a connection to a shark where they can test the efficacy of the magnets as a deterrent.
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