A professional surfer who miraculously survived a shark attack that was broadcast on live television said he's "stoked" to be alive.
On Sunday, Australian Mick Fanning, 34, was waiting on his surfboard for a set of waves at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa when a shark fin appeared next to him. Live television viewers watched as the shark submerged and appeared on the other side of his board. Fanning said he punched the shark before escaping. Fanning was brought to safety, and the competition was canceled.
Following the attack, Fanning opened up to the Daily Beast about the frightening experience.
“I was just about to get moving and start paddling again, and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me," Fanning told the outlet. "I started getting pulled underwater and then the thing came up, and I was on my board and it was right there. I saw the whole thing thrashing around, but I was getting dragged under by my leg rope."
As friend and fellow surfer Julian Wilson paddled toward him to help, Fanning fought with the shark, telling Fox Sports that he "punched him in the back." At one point when Fanning disappeared from view, an anguished Wilson, who was picked up by a jet ski, thought his friend was gone. Luckily, Fanning broke free and began swimming ashore as jet skis and a boat came to rescue him.
"To walk away from that, I'm just so stoked," Fanning, who escaped without injury, told the Daily Beast.
It didn't take long for Fanning's story – particularly his quote about punching the shark – to go viral, with fans flooding social media with memes.
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