Surfer's Incredible escape after encountering sharks

By Updated at 2015-07-19 21:06:10 +0000

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South Africa (The J-Bay Open) - An encounter between two large sharks and Australian surfer Mick Fanning, who was competing in the Jeffreys Bay World Surf League competition, in South Africa, broadcast live on television, has caused a few hearts to skip a beat.

Mick Fanning was competing in Jeffreys Bay, on the eastern Cape, when one of the sharks approached his surfboard.
The final of the J-Bay Open had only just started when Fanning was knocked off his surfboard and into the sea.
Fanning, the defending champion, escaped injury. The tournament was called off soon afterwards.
"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," Fanning told Fox Sports.
"I just saw fins. I was waiting for the teeth."
Fanning, a three-time world champion, said he was able to "get a punch into its back" and startle it.

The event was being broadcast live on television. Footage later cut to Fanning and co-competitor Julian Wilson, also of Australia, on a rescue boat reliving the incident.
The relieved-looking pair then received loud applause from a crowd on the beach.
The World Surf League (WSL), which organizes the competition, said Fanning was approached by two sharks, and that he and Wilson were both rescued from the water by jet-skis.
A video of the incident can be seen on the WSL's website here and the aftermath of the attack can be viewed here.
Reuters says the waters are some of the most shark-infested in the world, and that a surfer was killed by a Great White shark close to Jeffreys Bay in 2013.

The WSL issued an official statement following the incident:

"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."