JENKS, Okla. (KFOR) – Shark bite resistant swim gear for divers and surfers alike is being tested right here in Oklahoma.

Researchers with Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Aquarium are getting to be a part of the unique opportunity.

Testing shark bite resistant swim gear in a landlocked state would probably seem farfetched to most people.

However, with the Oklahoma Aquarium’s large collection of bull sharks, head of material science and engineering at OSU Tulsa’s Helmerich Research Center Jim Smay says it’s not farfetched at all.

“It’s pretty unique,” Smay said. “I never thought I’d be doing research work on sharks.”

Smay said he was contacted by the company Ironskinn out of Australia about a year ago.

Smay believes they wanted to test the product on bull sharks because they have the strongest bite force of any shark, and they also like to thrash and tear when they bite.

He said the study usually uses small boards with salmon on the outside. Then, underneath, they wrap the three layer, soft and plated armor swim gear around another piece of salmon to simulate a diver’s arm.

Smay said despite how it may appear, the gear is very light.

Although the research is ongoing, he also said the early returns have been good with the product only having very small punctures protecting the salmon inside.

“The iron skin product both helps with the penetration part and also with the slicing part when the shark starts to thrash,” Smay said. “If you don’t have a shredded arm and you may have a bruise or perhaps a broken bone because the shark had enough jaw strength to do that, that’s a lot better than not having an arm.”

The material has also been tested on great white sharks in New Zealand, as Smay and other researchers continue to collaborate in research impacting people beyond Oklahoma.

“Our objective is to both educate Oklahomans, but also do research that impacts the world,” Smay said.

According to Smay, they are working with a lot of different variables since the sharks are in captivity.

Smay also wanted to emphasize that the research is very conservation minded and no sharks are being harmed in it.