A surfing competition in South Africa was canceled Sunday after championship surfer Mick Fanning escaped a shark attack in the opening minutes of the final heat. Fanning escaped with a severed leash on his surfboard. He told World Surf League TV that he "punched" the shark "in the back" to scare it away.
Video of the incident appears to show two sharks circling the three-time World Surf League champion. The Water Safety Team pulled Fanning and fellow competitor Julian Wilson out of the waters to safety.
"I had this thought, 'What if it comes around for another go at me?'" Fanning said. "Before I knew it, the boat was there. ... I can't believe it, I was tripping out. I'm totally tripping out."
"I had this feeling that something was behind (me), and all of a sudden I felt like I started getting pulled underwater. And then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there," Fanning said.
Fanning, right, swims away from his board and signals for the water patrol after being attacked.
Fanning and Julian Wilson, in red, are rescued by personal watercraft.
Fanning catches his breath as he approaches the rescue boat.
Fanning and Wilson are taken to shore by rescue craft.
Fanning is hugged by fellow surfer Kelly Slater back on shore.
Fanning holds his head in his hands in reaction to the attack.