Surfer fends off attack

JOHANNESBURG – Australian surfer Mick Fanning has survived a shark attack in the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa, fighting off the circling predator with his fists before returning safely to shore.

Fanning was paddling out to ride his first wave when the unidentified species of shark surfaced next to him, knocking the 34-year-old off his board.

“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, nicknamed “White Lightning”, said.

“I punched him in the back.

“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 the teeth.”

After the shark apparently swam away, the shaken triple world champion headed towards the Jeffreys Bay beach and was picked up by a support craft.

Organisers later said two sharks were spotted in the area and the same shark involved in the clash with Fanning was seen again about 30 minutes later.