JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa — Three-time surfing world champ Mick Fanning had to fight off a shark during a televised surfing competition Sunday.
Fanning, 34, was not harmed, officials said, but video of the incident shows some tense moments as viewers wondered what was happening.
The attacked happened during the 2015 J-Bay Open heat in South Africa.
The Australian surfer was in the water holding his board when television viewers first caught a glimpse of a fin poke out through the water. Then the shark suddenly attacked him.
“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 instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I was waiting for teeth. I punched it in the back,” he said.
Rescue crews rushed over to Fanning and fished him out of the water to safety.