KOUGA, South Africa — Multiple World Surfing champion Mick Fanning recently had to fight off more than just his opponent during the J-Bay Open surfing competition in South Africa.
Fanning, from Australia, was competing against surfer Julian Wilson in the final round when he was attacked by a shark, and the whole incident was captured on live television.
Official footage uploaded by the World Surf League’s Twitter and YouTube channels shows Fanning as he is attacked by a shark. He managed a lucky escape after a few seconds of fighting off the animal.
“Sharks are in the lineup,” the league jokingly tweeted. It added, “Mick Fanning is OK. Final is on STANDBY.”
“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,” he added.
The final event was later cancelled. The World Surf League said in a statement:
“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.”
Fanning, 34, is a multiple world champion in surfing from New South Wales, Australia, according to his biography on surfing.com. He often goes by the nickname “White Lightning.”