Mick Fanning, one of the world's top surfers, has been attacked by a shark during a televised competition in South Africa.
The Australian emerged unharmed after punching the shark & swimming away from it, he said.
Video of the attack showed the shark's fin rising out of the water behind Fanning as he paddled on his board before taking his turn in the J-Bay Open event inÂ Eastern Cape.
"I was just cruising, just waiting for my turn, my opportunity," said the 34-year-old, a triple world champion whoÂ was competing in the finals against fellow AustralianÂ Julian Wilson.
"I felt like I was just approximately to start moving, start paddling, obtain going again when all of a sudden I had this instinct there was someone behind me & all of a sudden I started getting pulled underwater.
"And then the thing came up.
"I was on my board & it was like right there & I saw the whole thing like thrashing around.
"I was getting dragged under by leg rope & then I felt like it kicked me off, yet it was still there attached to my board.
"It felt like I punched it a couple of times & I felt like it was dragging me underwater & then my leg rope broke & I was like, 'Alright, just start swimming & swimming & swimming.'"
He recalled: "Swimming & screaming & shouting to Jules (Julian Wilson) to move."
Fanning was picked up by a jet ski after the attack & taken to shore.
"I can't believe it, I'm tripping out," he told a reporter from the World Surf League (WSL) afterwards.
Fanning, nicknamed "White Lightning" because of his speed in the water, became emotional recalling the close encounter with the shark.
"I'm pleased to not even to compete ever again.
"Seriously, to walk away from that, I'm just so stoked."
Spectator Kaylee Smit told South African news website News24: "I thought this man was going to die in front of us, it was so hectic.
"It was surreal. The whole crowd rose to their feet in complete silence & then that was broken by the announcer screaming over the information system for people to obtain out of the water.
"I am still in shock & I am shaking."
The competition was stopped following the attack.Â
"We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today," the WSL said in a statement.
"Mick's composure & quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic & 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."
Source: “Sky News”