Three-time world champ shaken, but uninjured
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 July, 2015 - Mick Fanning is lucky to escape without injury after being bumped and pursued by a shark during the final heat of the JBay Open against Julian Wilson.
Just a few minutes into the final the shark came at Fanning, swung around and then knocked him off his board.
WSL water patrol appeared quickly to get him out of the water. Fanning escaped serious injury, but was clearly shaken in the moments after the incident.
“I was just sitting there and I felt something just get stuck in my leg rope, and I was kicking trying to get it away” said Fanning of the encounter. “I just saw fins. I was waiting for the teeth.”
Fanning also said he got a couple punches in on the shark.
During the ordeal co-finalist Julian Wilson paddled quickly over to help Fanning.
The BBC reports that two sharks have been spotted in the area and have put the final on hold with the risk being 'too high' to continue competition.
The World Surf League halted competition and issued the following statement:
"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."