The age old question that nobody seems to have a difinitive answer for. Does pissing in the water attract sharks? I've asked myself this question many times over my surfing years and have carried out some unintended research of my own during this time.
Figuring that I still live and surf with hardly ever spotting a shark, urinating in the water does not seem to attract sharks, thank goodness. However real experiments carried out in the oceans show that urinating in the water can arouse sharks curiosity. This means they may come close to investigate.
Sharks have a keen sense of smell and are also hungry little buggers. So they are most tempted by the sweet smell of your bodily fluids, urine or blood, both can smell quite tasty. Now most sharks prefer fish, and we'll take Science Journal's word when it writes that urine does not smell or taste like fish.
Pissing or urinating in your wetsuit, a favorite of many surfers especially in the cold climes may also attract sharks inquisitive nature. Obviously the wee in your wetsuit stays with you longer cause it doesn't have ready escape. That nice warm feeling can come with a cost.
A lot of cases of surfers and divers that have been attacked by sharks have been preceeded by the need to relieve.
If however you feel the need to pee in the ocean and are worried about shark attacks then do so in small amounts. This will allow the urine not to be so concentrated. Thereby escaping in smaller amounts to disapate in the water. Also try and pee early on in the surf and not just as you leave. This is not for your mates, who might be still out there, but for the longevity of your wetsuit and your health. Pee can stay in the creases and folds of the wetsuit and if not washed out, a crop of small pustules might just appear around your hair follicles. This is called Folliculitis. It can be caused by the friction of a tight fitting garment such as a wetsuit, especially an unrinsed pee induced fungil growth one. So allowing time before you get out of the surf for your wetsuit to flush any urine out is a good idea. Of course you should also rinse your wetty in fresh water after each surf if possible. Keeps it together.
Another good idea if you need to piss in the water, wetsuit or not, is to let it go in the white water. More action from the waves the better the mix, and it's not as likely to attract the sharks nose as much as sitting out the back, whilst chatting with your mates and letting go of a good trickle.
Some people say that in times of fear peeing is quite natural, and that sharks recognize this as distress, and sharks being what sharks are, feel that an easy dinner is coming are attracted to its source. They reckon seals pee when frightened. I don't know about this, I sure as hell don't feel like peeing when I've seen a shark. Afterall peeing can be quite pleasurable, shark spotting whilst surfing isn't.
Why is it we want to pee so much in the water.
A strange thing happens when we jump in the water, our kidneys get the signal to put out more urine. A drop in body temperature, the excitement of the challenge of the surf, the pressure on the bladder whilst paddling, all trigger the kidneys to get to work. Who knows why, some cave man response I suppose.
Q - Why is making out you're a legend like peeing in your wetsuit?
A - You may get a warm feeling, but no one else notices, and no one really cares.