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UC San Diego graduates create surfer boots to protect against stingrays

A group of graduates from UC San Diego are working to develop a product that may be useful to have on-hand while at the beach.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — In La Jolla and other beaches in San Diego, as well as all over Southern California, stingray stings are a common sight. 

They are extremely painful and sometimes so dangerous that you may even need surgery, but there may be something to avoid all of that.

“What I do to prevent being stung is, I shuffle my feet back and forth and they seem to just swim away after that,” said Darrell Waterford, a Mira Mesa local. 

He’s been surfing the San Diego beaches for years. 

While he’s been lucky to never get stung by a stingray, that has not been the case for friends and family.

 “They told me it hurts like a bee sting,” said Waterford. 

To avoid an attack on beachgoer's lower legs, three entrepreneurs from UC San Diego 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, who is the co-founder of Dragonskin

Folks can get stung, they can get infected. They might have to get it surgically removed and that’s something that neither one of them wants for the community. 

The stingray resistant boots work to bring advanced protection to those who fear getting stung. 

Neither Michael, Randy, or Boulos have ever been stung. However, they do acknowledge that it's possible it can happen anytime they get in the water. 

According to the San Diego Lifesaving Association’s recent data, stingrays are out everyday. They also explain that at Huntington Beach 176 people were stung in just one day.

Which is why the three friends researched, tested and even went so much as went 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 in concert to reduce the chances that the barb can make it through the booty.

“Made it, but before we created a replica to calculate the average force of a  stingray sting and then we tried a bunch of different materials and then saw what was puncture resistant. And also flexible," Said Randy Lewis who is also the co-founder of Dragonskin.

In the meantime, they have accumulated a waiting list of customers, and have heard from them firsthand how they’re avoiding the beaches or living with their fear of stingrays every time they go.

WATCH RELATED: Sea lion wanders onto San Diego freeway, miles from ocean (Jan. 2022).

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