Fanning fights off a shark while competing in the J-Bay Open in South Africa, the sixth stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League. His punches the shark on the back to try to scare it away. His surfboard leash is severed and he escapes unharmed. The competition is cancelled.
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.
Fanning talks about his encounter:
I’m tripping…I’m happy to not even compete ever again. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked.
Fanning vows to get back on his surf board despite the trauma of his recent shark attack:
Surfing has given myself and my family so much. It’s gotten me through the hardest times in my life. So to turn my back on surfing, it just wouldn’t feel right…I guess someone was looking out for me. To walk away from a shark attack with not a scratch on you, it’s a miracle really.
He sends a message to the shark:
Thanks for not eating me.