Ever since veteran film maker Jeff Kurr caught a glimpse of Collosus, the aggressive 16ft long ‘mega-shark’ with a distinctive deformed dorsal fin, he was been on a mission to find him again.
Jeff’s determination to track down Collosus has lead to one very special invention – the WASP (Water Amour Shark Protection). Made from aluminum, the 6ft tall cage was designed to hold one diver but includes a transparent window to create the illusion that the diver is unprotected.
He explains, ‘last year, when I was in New Zealand filming Great White Serial Killer, I was in the cage and I kept looking down at the bottom of the ocean, the sea floor, and seeing all these sharks down there, and wondering, what are all those sharks doing down there?’
‘So I got to thinking we need to come up with a way to explore the bottom without risk of injury because the sharks in New Zealand are extremely aggressive, and they seem to have no fear of boats or humans.’
‘When I came back from New Zealand, I started drawing sketches, and I wanted to do something that looked maybe like a Transformer or some sort of a robot that could be a one-man operation where a person could get in it, pick it up, move it around, and cover a lot of ground. Plus, it had to be safe. That’s where the idea for WASP came from.’
Before trying it out in shark-infested waters, Jeff convinced his very brave colleague Chris Fallows to give it a go in a different part of the ocean.
Jeff says, ‘when we first got to New Zealand, we took it out in places where we knew there wouldn’t be any sharks just to make sure that it would sink properly and it would react properly underwater: We could actually drop it down and pick it back up again, which is very important—you always want to be able to retrieve it when there’s somebody in it.’
‘Once we worked out all the kinks, we took it where all the sharks were. Although Chris Fallows was pretty hesitant at first because I’ve put him in some pretty wacky contraptions over the years: the shark tube, the submarine, paddleboarding his first day on a paddleboard with white sharks.’
‘Once he got in the WASP, he loved it. He didn’t want to come out. He thought it was the greatest thing ever for exploring the white sharks’ underwater world. That’s something that very few people have been able to do just because it’s not that safe.’
One of the best design features of the WASP, is its ability to bounce back up if it is knocked over by a shark. Although there were also safety divers in the water close by to Chris, this is one of the main things that helped to keep him from becoming shark food!
New Zealand is home to one of the highest concentration of sharks in the world – with Chris and Jeff being lucky enough to see as many as four males at any one time.
But there was still only one shark that Jeff really wanted to lay eyes on – and after years of searching, he finally spotted Colossus!
Jeff says, ‘really, finding one shark is like trying to find a needle in the haystack. We were counting on the fact that these sharks always seem to return to the same places.’
‘That dorsal fin, you could tell it was him right away. I just thought that’s great—he’s still there, still hanging around.’
‘If you go down there now, hop on a plane, you’ll probably see Collosus. He came back after a little journey somewhere, who knows where he goes, but he’s back, he’s alive, and he’s well. I think he’s the most famous great white shark in the world right now!’
Watch the video above to see the WASP in action at one very tense moment…
And don’t forget to catch Air Jaws: Fin of Fury on Discovery