Everyone has seen the movie “Jaws” and has–for a time, at least–had a fear of sharks. Well, not professional surfers–especially the world renowned Mick Fanning. In fact, he was recently part of a shark attack during a competition, but was able to escape unscathed.
The Near-Deadly Incident
The incident occurred during the World Surf League’s J-Bay Open, a surfing competition, that was being held off the coast of South Africa in Jeffrey’s Bay. The 34 year old surfer was out on his board doing his thing for the judges. Fanning told reporters that he “had this instinct that something was behind [him].” He then went on to say, “And then all of the sudden, I felt like I started getting pulled underwater. 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.”
This is certainly a startling occurrence to happen to anyone. Luckily, Fanning had some semblance of what to do in the situation of a shark attack.
How Fanning Survived A Shark Attack
By flailing about and making as much noise as he could, it seems that Fanning saved himself from a potentially fatal attack. He told reporters that the shark had him by his leg wrap that kept him attached to his surfboard.
He felt as though he was being pulled under by the creature. Eventually, after what must have felt like hours of battling this animal, his leg wrap broke and the surfer was able to get free of the shark. He then proceeded to swim frantically away and scream as loud as he could for help. Crews quickly came to his aid on jet skis and boats and were able to pull him out of the water to safety.
The Aftermath of the Attack
Fanning insisted that he wasn’t hurt in any way. He said the only things that were damaged were his surfboard and his leg wrap. Reporters on scene noticed that he was understandably visibly shaken, however.
Kieren Perrow, the commissioner of the World Surf League, cancelled the event shortly after the incident. He said that his priority was the safety of his athletes, so cancelling the event was the obvious decision. Perrow then told reporters that this was the first time a shark attack had occurred during one of his league’s competitions prior to this incident.