Sharks Pick on Wrong Surfer

Mick Fanning says he punched shark that attacked him during competition
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2015 11:30 AM CDT
Mick Fanning competes in the 2015 Oi Rio Pro World Surf League competition at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Tuesday, May 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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(Newser) – Mick Fanning made a few more waves than normal during today's Jeffreys Bay Open surfing competition, likely due in no small part to the fact that shark attacks make for great live television: The professional surfer from Australia was getting ready to compete in today's final in South Africa when not one, but two sharks attacked as cameras rolled, reports the BBC. "I was just about to start moving, start paddling, get going again when all of a sudden I had this instinct there was someone behind me and all of a sudden I started getting pulled underwater," the 34-year-old three-time world champ tells al-Jazeera. "I punched him in the back."

Fanning and another surfer were plucked from the water, adds CNN, and the rest of the competition was quickly canceled. The only casualty: The severed leash on Fanning's surf board. "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," said the World Surf League commissioner in a statement. (Read more shark attack stories.)

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