Shark 'one of nature's great beauties', says Mick

25th July 2017 5:30 AM
IN AWE: Mick Fanning  during a press conference ahead of the WSL event at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. IN AWE: Mick Fanning during a press conference ahead of the WSL event at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. Kelly Cestari

MICK Fanning says he won't be deterred from surfing or competing at the infamous J-Bay Open despite another close call with a shark he later called "one of nature's great beauties".

Fanning, of Tweed Heads, said he was fine, relaxed and also "in awe" of the shark that cruised into the competition area while he was surfing his quarter-final of the world tour event in South Africa.

Fanning said the close encounter - at the same site where he was attacked by a shark in 2015 - would not deter him from returning to the surf or the Jeffreys Bay event he considers one of his favourites.

And when asked if he was the unluckiest, or luckiest, surfer to have had another close call, he laughed.

"I'm a glass half full type of guy," he said.

 

Supplied image of Australian surfer Mick Fanning during heat 5 of round three of the Corona Open J-Bay at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (AAP Image/World Surf League, Pierre Tostee) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR ADVERTISEMENT USE
Supplied image of Australian surfer Mick Fanning during heat 5 of round three of the Corona Open J-Bay at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (AAP Image/World Surf League, Pierre Tostee) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR ADVERTISEMENT USE Pierre Tostee

Fanning, who said after the 2015 attack that he was resigned to being known as "that shark guy" for the rest of his life, admitted he was shocked at the size of the beast lurking in the competition arena.

But he also described it as beautiful.

"It was a whopper, but what a beauty," he said.

"It was just so beautiful.

"I'm fine. It was seriously just one of those things."

Fanning said that in hindsight the attack two years ago might have been a good thing as aerial surveil- lance and other protection measures had now increased on the world tour.

"If that had happened three years ago, we might not have even known it was in the area," he said.

"Please tell everyone I am fine. I feel safe out there. I definitely don't want it (the event) taken off (the world tour).

"The WSL (World Surf League) is all about the athletes and I feel perfectly safe."