‘I was waiting for the teeth:’ Surfer fights off shark attack on live TV
The World Surf League champion escaped with a severed leash on his surfboard
A surfing competition in South Africa was canceled on Sunday after professional Australian surfer Mick Fanning escaped a shark attack.
A video of the incident that has been circulating on the web shows one shark fin circling the World Surf League champion, which Fanning notices and starts to rapidly paddling away. Safety boats are then quick to his rescue, pulling him out of the water.
Fanning told World Surf League TV that he "punched" the shark in the back to scare it away. "I had this feeling that something was behind [me], and all of a sudden I felt like I started getting pulled underwater. And then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there," he said.
"I had this thought, what if it comes around for another go at me?" he added, "before I knew it, the boat was there. ... I can't believe it, I was tripping out. I'm totally tripping out ... I was waiting for the teeth to come at me."
According to CNN, the sudden attack led the organizers of the J-Bay Open, the sixth stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League Championship Tour, to call off the rest of the competition.
"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," World Surf League Commissioner Kieren Perrow said in a statement.