Mick Fanning, who fought off a shark attack during a competition in South Africa, has returned to the water for the first time. The top surfer was attacked by a shark six days ago in an incident captured live on television. He managed to escape without being hurt after he punched the shark and swam away,Sky News reports.
On Saturday he returned to the water, tweeting his 205,000 followers: “First surf back. Feels so good”. He also posted a picture on Instagram showing him holding his surfboard. He added: “Surfed by myself but had Andy in my thoughts. Happy Birthday brother #AIforever”.
Andy Irons, who Fanning has described as a brother, was a world champion surfer from Hawaii who died in 2010 aged 32.
He suffered a heart attack after apparently taking cocaine and would have turned 37 on 24 July. Speaking after the shark attack, Fanning, 34, said: “I was just cruising, just waiting for my turn, my opportunity.
“I felt like I was just about to start moving, start paddling, get going again when all of a sudden I had this instinct there was someone behind me and all of a sudden I started getting pulled underwater. “And then the thing came up. I was on my board and it was like right there and I saw the whole thing like thrashing around.
“I was getting dragged under by leg rope and then I felt like it kicked me off, but it was still there attached to my board. “It felt like I punched it a couple of times and I felt like it was dragging me underwater and then my leg rope broke and I was like, ‘Alright, just start swimming and swimming and swimming.'”
Fanning was picked up by a jet ski after the attack and taken to shore, telling reporters: “Seriously, to walk away from that, I’m just so stoked.”