Three time World Champion and local Gold Coast surf legend Mick Fanning was attacked by not one, but two great white sharks whilst competing in the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa around 2pm SAST today. Fanning and fellow Australian competitor Julian Wilson were minutes into the heat final when two great white sharks took a liking to Mick Fanning’s board and decided to give it a nibble.
Thousands of online viewers witnessed Fanning one minute sitting calmly in the water and the next minute being attacked aggressively from behind by two sharks. The former world champ attempts to grab his board and spin around and is then knocked off by the same sharks. For a few heartstopping seconds we can’t see anything as a wave blocks our view but we do see a whole lot of splashing, and it’s clear the sharks aren’t playing around. Luckily Fanning manages to fend off his attackers by punching one in the back until the camera crew on board a dinghy rush to pull him and Wilson out of the water.
It’s the first time in professional surfing history that a competitor has been attacked by a shark and Mick Fanning is clearly rattled by the experience and lucky to be alive. After discussing the situation with organisers, the competition is called off for the day. Whether the final will commence tomorrow or a tie will be drawn will be decided at a later stage.
Language warning: swearing contained in this video.