Watch CBSN Live

Pro surfer fights off shark attack during competition

JEFFREY'S BAY, South Africa - Pro surfer Mick Fanning survived a shark attack during the final of the World Surfing League's J-Bay Open in an incredible encounter that was caught on camera.

"I felt something grab, got stuck in my leg rope, and I instantly just jumped," a still-shocked Fanning said immediately after the incident. "It just kept coming at my board."

The Australian three-time world champion was lifted out of the water by a rescue jet ski mere seconds after the attack, which happened when he was paddling out to catch his first wave.

"I just saw fins, I didn't see teeth," he said. "I was waiting for the teeth to come at me. I punched it in the back."

The WSL issued an official statement following the incident: "We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today. 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 -- they are truly world class at what they do."

The competition was canceled following the attack.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue