Australian surfer Mick Fanning escaped a shark attack during the 2015 J-Bay Open competition at Jefferys Bay in South Africa on Sunday.
The attack was filmed live on TV and the frightening footage showed a large fin approaching Fanning before the chaos on the water started.
Fanning said he felt the shark bump his board before he was knocked off into the water, the Mirror reported.
The triple world champion described the attacked and said, “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. I just saw fins. I didn’t see teeth. I was waiting for the teeth.”
“I instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I punched it in the back,” he added.
Fanning escaped the attacked and was able to make it to the support boats unharmed.
Julian Wilson, Fanning’s competition, had just completed the opening wave of the final, and Fanning was waiting for another set wave when the attack occurred, the Surfer Magazine reported.
William immediately rushed in to help Fanning.
The Surfer Magazine quoted William as saying, “I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I saw the thing pop up behind him. 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.”
Mirror wrote competition organizer, World Surf League, confirmed two sharks were spotted in the water before the attack on Fanning.
WSF called off the event after the incident and decided to split the prize points and money between the two competitors.
According to Surfer Magazine, Jeffrey’s Bay is known to be notorious with sharks. Although there have been reported attacks in the past, an attack during a surfing event is unprecedented.