Ocean Engineering


Phillips, Brennan, T

Advisor Department

Ocean Engineering




Engineering; Surfing; Sharks; Boots; Magnets; Repellant

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


The goal of this project is to use engineering knowledge and practices and apply them to my passion for surfing. The first aspect of the project was to find an issue within the world of surfing and try to solve it. One persistent problem has been people’s fear of sharks; even though shark attacks are rare, the fear of the unknown in murky waters has kept people away from the sport entirely. To tackle this problem, I decided to design a surfboard with MatLab and outfitted with magnets that would serve to deter sharks by interfering with their electrical sensors. This approach is grounded in existing research on elasmobranch electroreception. In order to limit any changes to the actual shape of the surfboard, all components will be integrated internally, and the underside of the board will include a black and white stripe pattern to further deter sharks, similar to a Pilot fish— a small fish that commonly swims around sharks without being eaten. This added feature would serve to break up the silhouette outline of the board on the surface and provide further shark deterrence. The second aspect of the project aimed at helping a person’s surfing ability by designing a surf boot with small suction cups on the underside of the shoe. This would allow a surfer to have better contact with the board, decrease slippage, and eliminate the need for sticky surf wax on the board. By utilizing software such as MatLab and Solidworks, I produced new designs and models. Ultimately, this work sets out to blend the research and design of engineering with the traditional craftsmanship and spirit that permeates surf culture, while hoping to make real-world improvements to the sport.

Honors audio.mp3 (3878 kB)