UC San Diego grads create surf boots to protect against stingrays
A group of UC San Diego graduates are working on developing a product that might be useful to have on hand at the beach.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — In La Jolla and other beaches in San Diego, as well as throughout Southern California, stingray stings are commonplace.
They are extremely painful and sometimes so dangerous that you might even need surgery, but there may be something to prevent all of this.
“What I do to avoid getting stung is I move my feet back and forth and they just seem to swim after that,” Mira Mesa resident Darrell Waterford said.
He’s been surfing the beaches of San Diego for years.
Although he was lucky enough to never get stung by a stingray, his friends and family did not.
“They told me it hurt like a bee sting,” Waterford said.
To avoid an attack on beachgoers’ lower legs, three UC San Diego entrepreneurs set out to create the right protection for the community.
“We know how much of a problem stingrays can be and we wanted to be proactive,” said Boulos Hadda, co-founder of Dragonskin.
People can get bitten, they can get infected. They may have to remove it surgically and that’s something neither of them want for the community.
The streak resistant boots work to provide advanced protection for those concerned about getting stung.
Neither Michael, nor Randy, nor Boulos have ever been bitten. However, they recognize that it is possible for this to happen every time they enter the water.
According to recent data from the San Diego Lifesaving Association, stingrays come out every day. They also explain that in Huntington Beach 176 people were bitten in a single day.
That’s why the three friends researched, tested and even went so far as to catch stingrays with these boots to prove that it can work.
So how does it work, you ask?
It’s a dual layer system and it has a proprietary protective material and the two layers work together to reduce the chances of the barb being able to slip through the booty.
“I did, but before we created a replica to calculate the average strength of a stingray, then we tried a bunch of different materials, then we saw what was puncture resistant. And so flexible,” said Randy Lewis, who is also the co-founder of Dragonskin.
In the meantime, they’ve built up a waiting list of customers and heard from them firsthand how they avoid beaches or live with their fear of stingrays every time they go.
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