The World Class surfing event, the JBay Open, was stopped at Jeffreys Bay today, 19 July, after top Australian surfing star, Mick Fanning from Australia was attacked by two sharks during a line-up just after 3 pm today .
The three-time WSL Champion and defending event winner, Fanning, remains physically unscathed by the incident, despite a severed leash. the organisers of the event, the World Surfing League (WSL) said in a press statement afterwards.
Fanning and fellow Australian surfer, Julian Wilson, were taken out of the water by a boat belonging to the organisers of the world class event. World Surfing League.. The organisers halted all surfing events for the rest of the day.
“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “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 safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both Finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express our gratitude to the Water Safety Team.”
See video of shark attack …
A shocked Fanning was apparently quoted afterwards as saying he tried to get away from the shark but it lunged at him. He was also reported as saying he expected the teeth to come and so he punched the shark on its back! Apparently the shark also became entangled in the leash of his board and this caused the leash to snap.
The NSRI urges bathers and surfers to exercise caution in the waters of Jeffreys Bay following Fanning’s encounter with the shark while he was surfing.
The NSRI says Fanning and Wilson, were picked up by the surfing competition’s own safety boat and brought to shore without incident and no one was harmed.
The NSRI said that while the NSRI Jeffreys Bay is not attending the J-Bay Open in any official capacity, NSRI Jeffreys Bay and the Emergency Services are on alert to respond to any incident.
Caution is advised to surfers and bathers in the waters of Jeffreys Bay following this incident today, the NSRI adds.