While waiting for the first wave of the final, Fanning noticed a fin surfacing behind him. He attempted to paddle away but he was soon dragged off his surfboard. A wave hid the entire scene for agonizing seconds while spectators wonder what would become of the professional surfer.
Fanning said that he just instinctively punched the shark in the back.
The rest of the event was canceled by the World Surf League, with both finalists Wilson and Fanning agreeing to be second place. The prize money was equally split between the 2 athletes.
“It’s shaken everyone,” Kieren Perrow, WSL commissioner had said. “We’re just happy to see [Fanning] safe and alive. It’s not something you believe would ever happen, and to see it unfold on live [television] is incredibly scary for everyone.”
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