Mick Fanning: attacked by two sharks

Mick Fanning was attacked by two sharks in the opening minutes of the 2015 J-Bay Open final, in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

It had never happened in the history of competitive surfing. The decisive heat of the South African World Championship Tour stage was suspended and called off for the day when a couple of unidentified sharks attacked Mick Fanning in the line-up.

The footage is quite impressive. The final of the 2015 J-Bay Open had just started when, suddenly, Fanning notices something unusual in the water and behind him. Instantly, he knew he was being attacked. Nevertheless, Julian Wilson paddled towards Mick.

Fanning resisted. Sharks knocked him off his board and, seconds later, everyone knew what was happening. The live camera zooms out, and the water safety team pulls Mick and Julian into the safety boat. Nervous moments in Jeffreys Bay.

Fanning escaped the wild shark attack with a broken leash, only. Not a scratch on his body, but the shock and psychological trauma were there for quite a while. The Australian was still shaking ten minutes after the incident.

"I was just sitting there and I felt something grab or get stuck in my leg rope and I instantly just jumped away. It just kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins, I didn't see any teeth," Fanning told immediately after the incident.

"I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming. I punched it in the back. I'm totally fine, I've got nothing wrong with me. There's a small depression in my board and my leg rope got bitten and I'm totally tripping out."

"I was just cruising and waiting for my turn, my opportunity and I knew Julian was down the point. I was just about to get moving and start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me."

"I started getting pulled underwater and then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there. I saw the whole thing thrashing around but I was getting dragged under by my leg rope. I felt like it kicked me off but it was still there going and I was still attached to my board. I felt like I punched it a couple of times and then it was dragging me and then my leg rope broke."

"I started swimming and screaming and yelling at Jules to move as well, but he was coming at me. What a legend, coming after me. I was swimming in and I turned around and I had this thought, what happens if it comes to have another go at me, so I turned around so I could at least see it coming."

"Before I knew it the boat was there, the jet skis were there and we were in safely. I just can't believe it. To walk away from that, I'm just so stoked. I want to let all my family and friends know that I'm okay," concluded Fanning.

Kieren Perrow, the WSL Commissioner, revealed that after discussions with both finalists, the organization decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. Both Fanning and Wilson will receive equal second place, 8,000 points, and will split the prize money between them equally, receiving $70,000 each. 

South Africa is one of the most shark-infested regions in the world.