Mick Fanning Attacked During the Finale of the J-Bay Open In July.

Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark at the start of the final heat in the J-Bay Open on July 19, 2015. J-Bay Open is the 6th stop of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League Championship Tour.   The staff of the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League Championship worked quickly to get the competitors out of the water after Fanning was attacked. Once everyone was safely out of the water the competition was canceled. Video taken during the event clearly shows at least two sharks circling Fanning moments after the final heat began. Julian Wilson also had to be pulled from the shark-infested water. Luckily for Fanning and Wilson the World Surf Championship League had safety precautions in place that included a water safety team. The Water Safety Team not only pulled the contestants from the water but they also monitored the water for hazards during the championship.

Fanning explained the horrific events to a reporter at the scene. "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."

The tightly knit surfing community was elated that the two men were pulled to safety before wither was seriously hurt.

The competition was not rescheduled. WSL officials discussed the situation with contestants and decided it was best to cancel the 12th and final day of the event. Per Commissioner Perrow Wilson and Fanning will split the 1st place prize money for the event.

WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow expressed gratitude for the quick rescue of the two surfers as well as the quick-witted actions of Fanning under immense pressure. Fanning is an experienced 3-time world surfing champion.

Jeffery’s Bay is located in South African and has a history of shark attacks. Despite being known shark attacks this was the first time an attack occurred during a competition.

Fanning competed in the Hurley Pros at Testles in southern California and won it. Fanning will compete in Portugal in October. Fanning is the reigning champion at the Portugal event.

I think the WSL made the right choice when they canceled the event and split the prize money between the two finalists. The decision showed they value the safety of their contestants above anything else. I do however think they should have taken it one step further and canceled all future events at this location. This Jeffrey Bridge is known as a shark infested area. Therefore it doesn't seem safe to have an event like this at this location. The next time the contestants and WSL may not escape without being injured. The articles I researched did not mention whether or not the WSL provided counseling to the two individuals. One can assume since Fanning won an event just two months after his attack that he is not suffering from PTSD because of it. However it would seem that counselors and PTSD specialists would be made available to the contestants and their teams after something like this occurred at an event. Overall I agree with the final decision made. I think getting input from the two contestants was vital in the decision process. Having th two split the money instead of just crowing he person who was in the lead seemed like the fairest approach.

Related Links

https://kutv.com/news/nation-world/surfer-fights-off-shark-attack-event-cancelled

http://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/07/19/shark-attacks-surfer-south-africa-world-surf-league-mick-fanning

http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2015/mct/1244/j-bay-open