Australian surfer Mick Fanning made international headlines earlier this month after he was filmed fighting off a great white shark, but upon his return to the water, he has unexpectedly experienced yet another encounter with one of the predators.
The incident was captured on camera by a 60 Minutes Australia film crew who were documenting Fanning’s first attempts to surf following his shark encounter, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Fanning had entered the sea in New South Wales when he observed a fin breaking the waves. In footage recorded by the crew, the 34-year-old athlete can be seen retreating to a jetski, which brought him ashore. Speaking with reporter Peter Stefanovic, Fanning related that he had just inexplicably encountered yet another shark.
“There was a fin, there he is,” Fanning said. “Straight out. I just saw it.”
— Gold Coast Bulletin (@GCBulletin) July 24, 2015
Fanning’s now-famous encounter with the white shark took place off the coast of South Africa, while he was competing in the J-Bay Open world surfing competition in Jeffreys Bay. As the final round of the competition was broadcast live, viewers were stunned to see a white shark’s dorsal fin breaking the surface behind Fanning, approaching to within just a few feet of him. The surfer was able to escape the shark without injury, despite the chaotic nature of his encounter.
— RedBull.com Surfing (@RedBull_Surfing) July 28, 2015
After viewing footage of the incident, which was widely reported as an attack, shark experts have asserted that the white shark was likely just investigating Fanning. They point out that white sharks often attack from below, as the Inquisitr has previously reported, and assert that the shark unexpectedly became tangled in Fanning’s surfboard leash, attempting to free itself.
— Network A (@NetworkA) July 26, 2015
Fanning’s mother was on hand to watch her son return to the waves. As the Mirror points out, she has spoken publicly about how terrified she felt watching the shark encounter on live TV. Fanning has also spoken out in praise of his fellow surfer, Julian Wilson, who paddled toward him when he witnessed the shark approaching him.
Fanning will return to competition next month at the next World Surf League event, the Billabong Pro, which will take place in Tahiti. Despite his famed encounter, Mick Fanning noted that he would likely return to surfing in Jeffreys Bay in time, even though South African waters are noted as some of the most shark-infested in the world.
[Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images]