Surf Scene: Surfer's eyes on the prize
THANKS to Tim Bonython and his travelling roadshow with the latest big wave blockbuster, The Big Wave Project, Surf Scene had the pleasure of meeting Shanan Worall.
The WA big wave rider and abalone diver was part of Bonython's entourage at the Coolangatta screenings.
Last year, Worall won the World Surf League's (WSL) prestigious biggest tube award and recently launched his shark prevention invention called Shark Eyes.
Firstly, let's start with the strike mission to score the biggest tube award. Worall had tracked the swell storm event pinpointing with swell forecasting accuracy when the best time to hit The Right would be.
"I was lucky enough to get a wave captured by Jamie Scott Images in May that took out the 2017 WSL Tube of the year award. Pretty stoked! Everyone who surfed that day got special waves, so I'm very fortunate to take it out," Worall said.
Worall recalled the day of his huge ride, which started with a five hour drive down the West Australian coast to a remote location after a massive swell surfaced on forecasting sites.
"We woke up super early the next morning because the forecast was showing the swell was peaking pre-dawn. It's about a 45min drive on the ski to get to this wave through a wild southern ocean," Worall said.
"When we got there, you could cut the nervous tension in the air with a knife; we all knew it was as big as it gets.
"I didn't want to look at it too long, that'll do your head in. I've done it before, you look at it too long and you don't want to surf it, it's so horribly angry. So I jumped off the pony, grabbed the rope and that photo was taken of my first wave of the day."
Worall said while big barrels don't always offer the best vision, the view he got from his ride would forever be etched into his memory.
"Full vision, massive cave, it felt like I was travelling through an airplane hangar," he said.
"So much noise and energy around you, I wish you could share those experiences."
Worall and his wife Heather, who was expecting a child while Shanan was on the road, have been working on Shark Eyes for 18 months.
Having grown up in Esperance, WA and learnt to fish and dive before he could walk, Worall is passionate about trying to prevent shark attacks and maintain the marine environment.
Shark Eyes is a non-invasive shark deterrent. Large false eyes (mimicry) are used in nature to successfully prevent an attack. The Shark Eyes are in the form of a waterproof, high tac vinyl sticker that can be applied to the bottom of all water craft. Contrary to the theory that sharks have poor eyesight, Worall said that's a total myth.
"Science has proven how vital the element of surprise is when an apex predator wants to attack. By using false eyes we can attempt to take away that key element of their attack. Sharks have really good vision and rely on this heavily when hunting," he said.
The Shark Eyes concept is not new: "In nature many species have adapted large false eyes as a means of defence.
"Studies have proven the success of man's use of mimicry to defend against attack. In a village in India, tigers were attacking humans at the rate of 60 deaths per year.
They implemented the wearing of face masks to the back of one's head. For those who wore masks, attacks were avoided all together. The tiger lost the element of surprise and aborted any attack."
The waterproof stickers can be applied to all boards, SUP's dive tanks, kayaks. Shark Eyes are available at http://www.sharkeyes.com.au/