The remainder of the J-Bay Open surfing competition in South Africa has been called off after Australian surfer, Mick Fanning had a close encounter with a shark. Video footage of the incident shows Fanning waiting for his next wave when a fin surfaces in the water behind him. The former world champion was pulled under the waves and struggled with the animal before being picked up by competition officials on a jet-ski and taken back to shore. Authorities at the scene have speculated that the shark was a great white.

Cameras at the event captured the incident:

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

“I was getting dragged under by my leg-rope, and then I felt like it kicked me off, but it was still there, and I was still attached to my board. I felt like it was dragging me under water, and then my leg-rope [leash] broke, and I started swimming and screaming.”

Thankfully Fanning was uninjured. Sharks rarely hunt humans and will usually only do so when surfers or swimmers are mistaken for natural prey like sea turtles or seals. In such instances, sharks will typically retreat after the first bite once they have realised their error. According to 9News, no surfer has ever been attacked while competing at a professional event.

Mick shark story.

Exclusive interview with Mick Fanning following the #JBayOpen shark attack.

Posted by World Surf League on Sunday, 19 July 2015