For those looking forward to watching the classic Mick Fanning v Julian Wilson final at the J Bay Pro had a major shock when a Great White shark attacked Mick. The shark then got caught up in Mick’s leash and it turned into a a tussle with him hitting the shark to avoid being bitten. Fanning then swam without his board to the safety patrol ski which must have felt like the longest swim ever. Meantime fellow finalist Julian Wilson bravely paddled over to assist Mick. They boarded the a patrol boat to process what had happened.
“I was just cruising and waiting for my turn, my opportunity and I knew Julian (Wilson) was down the point,” said Mick. “I was just about to get moving and start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. I started getting pulled underwater and then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there. I saw the whole thing thrashing around but I was getting dragged under by my leg rope. I felt like it kicked me off but it was still there going and I was still attached to my board. I felt like I punched it a couple of times and then it was dragging me and then my leg rope broke.”
“I started swimming and screaming and yelling at Jules (Julian Wilson) to move as well, but he was coming at me,” said Mick. “What a legend, coming after me. I was swimming in and I turned around and I had this thought, what happens if it comes to have another go at me, so I turned around so I could at least see it coming. Before I knew it the boat was there, the jet skis were there and we were in safely. I just can’t believe it. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked. I want to let all my family and friends know that I’m okay.”
“Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic,” said WSL Commissioner Keiren Perrow, “The rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable.” Such a lucky escape for Mick and for everyone in the water at that time. The story has made headlines around the world.