Pro surfer fends off shark attack during competition

Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), Pico island , Azores.
Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), Pico island , Azores.

Editor’s note: Video contains a profanity

The World Surf League’s J-Bay Open final was canceled after competitor Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark as he was set to compete off the coast of South Africa.

Fanning, an Australian professional surfer, was unharmed when the shark came up to his surfboard before the final of the televised event.

“I was just sitting there, I was just about to start moving, and then I felt something grab… get stuck in my leg rope. I instantly just jumped away, and then it’s just coming at my board,” Fanning said in a TV interview from a boat afterward.

“I was just like kicking and screaming.”

After getting knocked off his board, Fanning was quickly rescued by competition officials, who got him on a support boat.

“I just saw fins…I was waiting for the teeth to come at me,” Fanning said.

The competition tweeted “Sharks are in the lineup. @Mick_Fanning is OK,” announcing the delay.

What did Fanning do to get away?

“I punched it in the back,” he said, while laughing during the TV interview.

The WSL issued a statement after the incident, canceling the event:

“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today. Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable — they are truly world class at what they do.

“The safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both Finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express our gratitude to the Water Safety Team.”

Reach Joshua Wood at 316-268-6413 or Follow him on Twitter: @joshwood. ___


This article was written by JOSHUA WOOD from The Wichita Eagle and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.