Surfer Mick Fanning fought off a shark on live TV.
The Australian surfer was waiting for a set of waves during the finals of the South Africa J-Bay (Jefferys Bay) Open final when the shark went for his board.
He told Fox Sports “I was just about to start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. Then I started getting pulled under water and the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there and I saw the whole thing, it was right there. I was getting dragged under by my leg rope, I instantly just jumped and he kept coming at my board. I was just kicking and screaming. I saw fins . I was waiting for the teeth. I punched him in the back!”
Once he was back on the beach he said.
“I was just about to start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. Then I started getting pulled under water and the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there and I saw the whole thing, it was right there. I was getting dragged under by my leg rope,” “I felt like it was dragging me under water and then my leg rope broke so I started swimming and screaming … I just can’t believe it, I’m just tripping out.”
Fanning and fellow competitor Julian Wilson were competing in the finals. Wilson saw the whole ordeal unfold and went to the aid of Fanning. He told Surfermag.com
“I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I saw the thing pop up behind him. I saw him wrestling it and saw him get knocked off his board. Then a little wave popped up and I couldn’t see him. I thought he’d gone under…it felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough. I literally thought that I wasn’t gonna get there in time. I thought ‘I’ve got a board. If I can get there in time I’ve got a weapon and I could stab the shark.’ Then he started screaming at me, we both started screaming, and then the boats came in [to help]…it’s all too much really.”
The event was canceled two hours later and the prize money and points were split between the two surfers.
Neither surfer suffered physical injury.
It is suspected to have been a great white shark.
There have been four other shark interactions in South Africa this year.
Jason Krafft was bitten while surfing January 3rd, Mathieu Dasnois was bitten while snorkeling May 2, surfer Caleb Swanepoel lost a leg surfing on June 27 and on June 29th Dylan Reddering was bitten while surfing.
All location and the incident with Mick Fanning are marked on the 2015 shark attack, bites tracking map.