Triple World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning has made a lucky escape after a close encounter with what appeared to be a shark in the final of the J-Bay open in South Africa.

The final was just minutes old when the animal surfaced alongside Fanning knocking him off his board.

Surfing officials appeared quickly on the scene, helping him aboard a support boat.

Fanning escaped serious injury, but was clearly shaken in the moments after the incident.

‘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’ said Fanning of the encounter.

‘I just saw fins. I was waiting for the teeth.’

The surfer wasn’t injured in the near-miss and says he managed to ‘get a punch into its back’.


Organisers have put the final on hold with the risk too high to continue competition.

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