Australian Mick Fanning (AUS), a 3X World Surf League (WSL) champion, who encountered an aggressive Great White during the opening minutes of the 2015 Final at Jeffreys Bay, resulting in one of the biggest news stories in the world, was today in a line-up at the Corona Open Jeffreys Bay when a 3-metre Great White Shark swam into the same line-up!
World Surf League event organisers and safety teams quickly picked up the two athletes by boats. The safety teams had tracked the shark swimming into the competition line-up during the Quarterfinal heat between Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Fanning and then monitored the shark as it left the line-up.
The competition was put on hold for the second time in this year’s Corona Open, following yesterday’s heat postponement.
After discussion with the Commissioner’s Office and the athletes, competition resumed with Medina besting Fanning and advancing to the Semi-finals.
“I’m really glad they got us out of the water but I felt really safe out there with the skis, the drones and the plane so it was an easy decision to paddle out,” said Fanning. “We had a slow start to the heat and I made a few mistakes but Gabe (Medina) is just surfing so well at the moment so it was a tough heat.
“It’s been such an incredible contest though. I think we’ve seen some of the best surfing to see how many 10-point rides have gone down. What else could happen here?”
Yesterday Heat 3 of Round 4 was called off after judges and ski drivers saw a shark breach about 100 yards out the back of the line-up.
According to World Surfing League press release, the breach was part of a larger feeding activity going on and, per protocol, the response team was activated and the heat was called off.
A decision was made to put the heat on hold and to not restart the heat again today WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow, said. “We’ll come back tomorrow and we’ve still got great waves on tap so there’s no need to put that heat back in the water again today.”