As reported by Surfer Magazine, Mick Fanning was awaiting his turn to compete in the final heat of the 2015 J-Bay Open in South Africa against Julian Wilson when what is suspected to be a great white attacked him from behind. The entire ordeal was captured on film. [youtube id=”xrt27dZ7DOA” align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no”]
Fanning amazingly came out of the attack without injury, and afterwards gave a full account of his terrifying encounter.
“I’m tripping out right now. I just saw the footage of the attack. I was just waiting for my opportunity in the heat and I knew Julian was down the point. I was just about to start paddling and I had this instinct that something was behind me. And then the shark came up from behind me and attacked. I got pulled under water and was being dragged under by my leg rope. Then it kicked me off and I punched it a couple of times. Then my leg rope break and I was just swimming. I was yelling at Julian to get away but he was coming towards me to help. What a legend. Then I was just readying myself for it to come at me again so I turned around, hoping I could at least see it coming. And then before I knew it the boat was there and I was safe.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I saw the thing pop up behind him,” he said through broken tears. “I saw him wrestling it and saw him get knocked off his board. Then a little wave popped up and I couldn’t see him. I thought he’d gone under…it felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough. I literally thought that I wasn’t gonna get there in time. I thought ‘I’ve got a board. If I can get there in time I’ve got a weapon and I could stab the shark.’ Then he started screaming at me, we both started screaming, and then the boats came in [to help]…it’s all too much really.”