Here is a story another product that fails to understand the fundamentals of chemistry and shark olfaction: Chillax, by a Neil Campbell.
SharkDefense has been approached dozens of times over the past decade to create a shark repellent surf wax. We were even funded to do research and development for one company for such a product, which, as expected, did not work. Here is the executive summary on why this concept cannot succeed:
- A shark repellent surf wax is a counter-intuitive idea. Surf wax is used to provide traction at the top of the board. A shark repellent needs to time release into the water below the board at a consistent rate.
- Essential oils, like tea tree oil, are not soluble in sea water.
- Sharks lack olfactory receptors for plant oils, which are not soluble anyway (see point #2)
- People seem to believe that the mammalian nose is the same as a sharks, and that is a serious flaw. Sharks are highly atuned to detecting certain chemicals in the water that are completely odorless to humans, for example, amino acids. Chemicals that humans find repulsive, such as skunk musk oil, are entirely ineffective on sharks – Trust us, we did the tests!
- Emulsifying oils into a surf wax matrix creates a slippery product, the opposite of the purpose of a surf wax (see point #1). I guess the formulator will need to add coarse-grained insoluble things to the wax to regain the traction.
Be cautious on the claims of such products!