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Australian surfer Mick Fanning has vowed to return to surfing despite fighting off a shark during this year’s J-Bay Open in South Africa.

Mick Fanning, 34, described his terrifying ordeal to reporters in Sydney on his return home.

He thanked his “warrior” mate and fellow competitor Julian Wilson who swam into the fray to help.

In one light moment, Mick Fanning was asked if he had a message for the shark.

He replied: “Thanks for not eating me.”

“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 said.Mick Fanning shark attack July 2015

Mick Fanning was the defending champion at the tournament at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and a three-time world champion.

Dramatic footage of the encounter on July 19 showed the moment when the shark hit the back of his board.

“It sort of came up and went for the tail of my board,” Mick Fanning said.

“I don’t know why it didn’t bite. It just kept coming back.”

“I was on top of it, trying to put my board in between us,” he said.

“I don’t know if I punched it hard or if they were baby punches. I just went into fight or flight.”

After that, jet-skis and rescue boats arrived to pick Mick Fanning up.

Julian Wilson, also a competitor at the event, paddled towards Mick Fanning when he saw the shark.

“I came over the wave, praying he would be there and not … with blood everywhere,” he told reporter at the same press conference.

“The worst case scenario is in your head.”

Mick Fanning said he would return to surfing, and to the J-Bay event, but it may take some time.

“I’m sure I’ll go surfing [soon], surfing has given me so much, it’s something that gives me peace, I’m sure I’ll go back out … I’m quite anxious to get back home,” Mick Fanning said according to the Guardian.


Surfers at the annual Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club competition in New South Wales were joined by a large spinner shark.

Spectators saw the shark leaping in and out of the water near Coffs Harbour, close to the surfers and swimmers.

The moment was caught on camera by local resident Steph Bellamy, who said the shark “photobombed” her picture.

Surfers evacuated the sea for 10 minutes before resuming the contest, she said, adding that no one was hurt.

The encounter took place at the annual Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club competition at Macauley’s Beach, 340 miles north of Sydney, on November 30.

Photo Steph Bellamy

Photo Steph Bellamy

Steph Bellamy said she was taking a photo of the competition when she saw a splash.

She added that it was unusual for a shark to swim so close to the coast.

She showed the picture to the announcer on the viewing deck, who “got everyone out of the water”.

The photo has been examined by officials at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Spinner sharks are generally found north of Jervis Bay, and can reach a maximum length of 9ft.

Steph Bellamy said her photo had been widely shared since November 30, and the response had been generally positive, although some people had accused her of digitally altering the image.