WSL J-Bay Open: Mick Fanning Survives Shark Encounter

Professional surfer Mick Fanning was attacked by an alleged Great White Shark during the 2015 J-Bay World Surfing League competition leading to the rest of the event being called off on July 19th. Video courtesy of Fox Sports.

In the world of action sports, there are moments that can make us stand in awe of what just happened, or scare us to death. This was one of the latter with Mick Fanning fighting off an alleged great white shark during the 2015 J-Bay World Surf League competition. The report of the shark being a great white comes from our friends at


Mick Fanning: “I’m tripping out right now. I just saw the footage of the attack. I was just waiting for my opportunity in the heat and I knew Julian was down the point. I was just about to start paddling and I had this instinct that something was behind me. And then the shark came up from behind me and attacked. I got pulled under water and was being dragged under by my leg rope. Then it kicked me off and I punched it a couple of times. Then my leg rope broke and I was just swimming. I was yelling at Julian to get away but he was coming towards me to help. What a legend. Then I was just readying myself for it to come at me again so I turned around, hoping I could at least see it coming. And then before I knew it the boat was there and I was safe.” Video Courtesy of World Surf League.

The attack happened during the final heat of the J-Bay Open with Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson battling for first place. However, the unthinkable happened with the shark attack and the event was immediately called off for the rest of the day for the surfer’s safety.

According to, the World Surf League Chief Executive Paul Speaker released this statement after the event was cancelled:

Paul Speaker: “We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today. 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.”

Legendary pro surfer and fellow J-Bay competitor Kelly Slater responds to the shark attack on Mick Fanning.

According to World Surf League rules, Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson split 2nd place and divided the prize money and points in half. Even though Adriano de Souza is currently in first place with five events left in this year’s tour, Fanning is a mere 250 points behind first in the Men’s Championship Tour.

Current World Surf League 2015 Men’s Championship Tour Leaders:

  • 1st: Adriano de Souza: 33,200 Points.
  • 2nd: Mick Fanning: 32,950 Points.
  • 3rd: Julian Wilson, 31,450 Points.
  • 4th: Felipe Toledo, 29,200 Points.
  • 5th: Owen Wright, 27,900 Points.
  • 6th: Kelly Slater, 23,000 Points.

The next competition in the World Surf League 2015 Men’s Championship Tour will be the Billabong Pro Tahihi event on Aug. 14th-25th held in Teahupo’o, Tahiti. Stay tuned with the Soul id Surfing News page for updates and events until then as we will wait and see if shark attack survivor Mick Fanning can jump into 1st place in French Polynesia.


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