Mick Fanning's shark scare: 'I saw the thing thrashing'

• Shocking moment champion surfer attacked by shark
• Video shows fin emerge from the water
• Fanning: "I was waiting for the teeth to come at me."
• He was knocked off his board but he fought back

AUSTRALIAN surfer Mick Fanning has survived a shark attack live on TV in South Africa.

Competing in the J-Bay Open in Jeffreys Bay, the three-time world champion from Tweed Heads had to fight off a shark during the event's final before being rescued.

He struggled with the shark before jet-skis and boats came to his rescue, helping Fanning and fellow finalist Julian Wilson back to shore.

"All of [a] sudden, I just had this instinct that something was behind me," Fanning told the World Surf League website.

"And then all of the sudden, I felt like I started getting pulled under water. Then the [shark] came up, and I was on my board and it was like right there, and I saw the whole thing thrashing around.

"It came up and got stuck in my leg rope. I instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I punched it in the back."

Wilson, who was competing with Fanning in the water, said he thought his Australian compatriot was going to be taken under by the shark.

RELATED: Julian Wilson talks of Mick Fanning shark ordeal

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"I'm just happy that he's alive. I literally thought, as bailing for him, that I wasn't going to get there in time. Especially when I came over the wave, his board was over here and he was swimming the other way, I was like 'oh no it's going to 

"I was thinking 'I've got a board I can stab it or whatever. I've got a weapon'".

The support boats got there in time to save both surfers.

Both Fanning and Wilson will receive equal second place and will split the prize money between them equally.


Mick Fanning of Australia (pictured) holds his head in his hands taking the gravity of the situation after being attacked by a shark during the JBay Open. Photo / Supplied
Mick Fanning of Australia (pictured) holds his head in his hands taking the gravity of the situation after being attacked by a shark during the JBay Open. Photo / Supplied

Spectator Kaylee Smit told News24: "We were all watching and then all of a sudden you could see the fin so we knew it was a shark.

"We could see the splashing and he was knocked off his board. I thought this guy was going to die in front of us, it was so hectic. It was surreal. The whole crowd rose to their feet in complete silence and then that was broken by the announcer screaming over the information system for people to get out of the water. I am still in shock and I am shaking."

"Now I've seen it all," said Slater of the attack.

"I was coming up the beach and I saw all the boats and skis go straight to the lineup. I knew there was only one possible reason that would ever happen in a contest and that's if someone got attacked by a shark.

"I ran up the beach trying to get some information. I'm halfway between crying and laughing because he (Fanning) got so lucky. I'm lost for words to be honest. We almost just watched our friend get eaten by a shark and I'm just blown away that there's no damage at all."

Just when thought it was safe ... What to do if you come face to fin with a shark

• Refrain from excessive splashing. Sharks are attracted to such activity.
• Leave the water quickly and calmly if a shark is sighted. Do not provoke, harass, or entice a shark, even a small one.
• If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. They may be behaving like that because there is a shark in the area.
• If you feel something brush up against you, get out of the water to make sure that you have not been bitten. There have been reports that shark-bite victims often do not feel any pain.
• If attack is imminent, defend yourself with whatever weapons you can. Avoid using your bare hands or feet if you can avoid it; if not, concentrate your blows against the shark's delicate eyes or gills. A shark's snout is also said to be sensitive.
• If a shark actually gets you in its mouth, be as aggressively defensive as you are able. 'Playing dead' does not work. Pound the shark in any way possible. Try to claw at the eyes and gill openings, two very sensitive areas.

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