Surfer Mick Fanning Walks Away Uninjured After Getting Attacked by a Shark During Competition
The surfer was uninjured but shaken, following the attack
An Australian surfer was attacked by a shark while competing in South Africa – and, in an unprecedented moment, the attack was broadcast on live TV.
Surfer Mick Fanning, who escaped the attack unharmed, can be seen in footage from the competition idling in the water as a shark’s fin suddenly approaches. There are several splashes, as Fanning becomes aware of the animal. Then he falls off his board and disappears from view.
“Holy s—,” one of the on-air commentators exclaims, before apologizing. An alarm is sounded and competition officials race to Fanning’s location in the water.
“I was just about to start moving and then I felt something grab [and] get stuck in my leg rope. And I instantly just jumped away and it just kept coming at my board. I just started kicking and screaming,” Fanning said afterward, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I just saw fin, I didn’t see the teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming,” he said.
Fanning “punched [the shark] in the back,” according to the paper.
Fanning was competing at the final of the J-Bay Open, in South Africa’s Jeffreys Bay. The tournament was called off following the attack, according to the World Surf League.
Fanning and competitor Julian Wilson will split the prize money, according to the Morning Herald.
“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today,” the WSL said in a statement. “Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic.”