Mick Fanning shark attack video: Surfer says 'thanks for not eating me'

World champion who fought off shark attack at South Africa's J-Bay Open says he is still shaken by the incident, but will compete again

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The Independent Online

The surfer who survived a shark attack live on TV has offered a reconciliatory message to the animal.

Asked at media conference in Sydney if there was anything he would like to say to the shark, Mick Fanning replied: "Thanks for not eating me."

Fanning emerged unscathed from his encounter with the shark which approached him while he was swimming in on his board during the J-Bay Open in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

Video online of a startled Fanning turning and punching the shark has been watched more than 13.5 million times.

"I guess someone was looking out for me. To walk away from a shark attack with not a scratch on you, it's a miracle really," Fanning told the media conference.

"You just count your lucky stars and if there is someone up there looking after us [then] thanks," he said.

He also thanked fellow Australian and competitor Julian Wilson who, on seeing his friend attacked by the shark, paddled towards Fanning to try to help.

Wilson suggested his own feat of bravery had been inspired by watching Fanning take on the shark, saying Fanning's actions "could be the thing that gave me the courage to just head for him".

Queensland, Wilson's home state, has nominated him for a bravery award.

But amid the bravado Fanning admitted he had been seriously shaken by the incident, saying it could be months before he gets over the attack.

"It's more of an emotional, mental trauma. It will probably take a couple of weeks, months, I don't know how long it's going to take [to get over it]," he said.

In the aftermath of the attack there was speculation that Fanning might not compete again, but asked at the media conference if he would be back at the J-Bay Open next year he replied "for sure".

The shark was unavailable for comment.