Youtube Screen Capture - World Surf League
Surfer Mick Fanning had an uncomfortable encounter with a shark during a surfing competition.
Great white sharks are the biggest predatory fish in the world. And despite their mass, they can travel at ridiculous speeds, at over 35 miles per hour, to track their prey. Marine biologist Joe Butler traveled with two friends off Hans Bay, South Africa, in hopes of seeing some great whites. Which they did. See more of Butler's story on anew episode
ofThis Happened Here
on the Seeker Network.Shark Files: Shark Bite Risk Down 91 Percent Since 1950
"In order to bring them in closer, to give everyone a good look, the crew would employ a tuna head on the end of a long rope and drag it out of the way before the shark had a chance to grab it," Butler said.Shark Files: Great White Shark Photobombs Friend
This amazing photo, taken from inside the cage, shows the shark grabbing the bait before anyone had a chance to react. "There's actually quite a sobering moment when you realize that proverbially you're the fish out of water, this is their home, and you’re not actually supposed to be there," Butler said.Shark 'Highways' Crisscross The World: Photos
"I think a lot people have this image in their head of them being sort of an idealistic predator, but in reality these animals are still quite vulnerable. However, seeing them in their natural environment is something I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat." Above, Butler (left), prepares to cage dive with his two classmates.Shark Files: Scary Footage Shows 15-Ft Great White In Mass.
Johannesburg (AFP) - An Australian surfing champion fought back against a shark attack on live television during a competition in South Africa on Sunday, escaping from the terrifying scene without injury.
Mick Fanning, 34, was competing in the final heat of a world tour event at Jeffrey's Bay in the country's Eastern Cape province when a looming black fin appeared in the water behind him.
In a churn of water and spray, Fanning could be seen battling to fend off the shark.
"It came up and got stuck in my leg rope," he said in a television interview afterwards.
"I was kicking and screaming. I just saw a fin. I didn't see teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming. I punched it in the back."
Fanning, a triple world champion nicknamed White Lightning, was sitting on his board in the water when the shark lunged at him, tipping him off the board.
He was taken out of the water by safety crews, and said he had only lost his leg rope.
"We've never seen anything that dramatic and that frightening," commentator Joe Turpel was quoted as saying.
The competition was abandoned after the incident.