South African Surfer fights off shark during competition

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Australian surfer Mick Fanning beats off shark in final of J-Bay Open.

JOHANNESBURG — Knocked off his board by an attacking shark, a surfer punched the creature during the televised finals of a world surfing competition in South Africa before escaping. Three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning was competing in a tournament off the coast of South Africa when the water rippled behind him to reveal a grey fin and slashing tail.

Australian surfer Mick Fanning survived a shark attack in Sunday’s final of the World Surfing League’s J-Bay Open, fighting off the circling predator with his fists. Fortunately, he was unharmed and the attack was captured on video: After a brief tussle, the camera pans back as we see safety boats making a beeline to Fanning. The surfer scrambled to avoid the sudden attack but managed to leave the incident unharmed with the assistance of jetskis and rescue boats to carry him back to shore. “And then all of the sudden, I felt like I started getting pulled under water. The Australian managed to fight off the predator, hitting it on its back before it swam off, leaving him shaken as he waited for a support boat to return him safely to shore. “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 punched him in the back”.

In terrifying footage broadcast on live TV, Fanning can be seen fighting to stay on his board as at least one of the sharks thrashes violently in the water. Fanning and another finalist, Julian Wilson, were brought to shore by boat, according to the World Surf League. “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,” it said in a statement. Perrow said the finalists were not concerned with the affect the decision would have on the standings. “I think both of them weren’t thinking about the points or the prize money at all,” Perrow said. “I’m happy to not even compete ever again,” Fanning told a reporter after he was brought back to the safety of the beach by a boat. “I just want to let all my family and friends know, I’m okay,” he said. “I’m just tripping out.” Baseball players have to deal with 100 mph fastballs at their heads and football players have to deal with being de-cleated by a 250 lb linebacker, but neither of those come close to the fear that passes through your body when you see a shark headed your way. Maybe the only thing in sports comparable is a stock car going 200+ mph approaching an unavoidable crash but at least drivers wear helmets and protective suits.

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