‘That thing is a beast’: Mick Fanning pulled from surf after shark sighting

Mick Fanning insists he feels safe at his beloved Jeffreys Bay despite enduring two shark scares in three years, this time avoiding what he called a beast

Mick Fanning insists he feels safe at his beloved Jeffreys Bay despite enduring two shark scares in three years. On Wednesday, the Australian and Gabriel Medina were plucked from the water while contesting their J-Bay Open quarter-final because of a three-metre great white shark in the line-up.

It was the second shark sighting in two days at the notorious break.

Fanning, who was attacked two years ago by a great white in the event final, was eliminated by Brazils Medina when they returned to the water, ending his J-Bay Open title defence and bid to win it a fifth time.

Fanning saw the footage for the first time when he was recapping the days action and was taken aback by the size of the shark. That is huge, Fanning said. Look at that thing, that thing is a beast, at least they saw this one. I am glad they got us out of the water.

Those things are just submarines, however long they are, the roundness of them as well … they are big, big beasts.

Three-time world champion Fanning, who spoke of his love of surfing at Jeffreys Bay leading up to the event, expressed regret over the scare, but said he felt safe. People at home, Im sorry to put you through it, he said. I dont try to put myself in danger anymore. I think Ive been in that situation a few too many times. But I feel really safe.

The incident came a day after a mako was spotted 90m from Filipe Toledo, while Julian Wilson who was surfing against Fanning during the 2015 attack was in the water.

Fanning blamed his own errors and the improved form of his opponent for Wednesdays loss. Medina enjoyed one long tube ride and a series of big sweeping turns and floats to lay down scores of 8.5 and 8.9 as Fanning struggled. I picked the right turn at the wrong time on the first wave, then got a lip in the head on the second wave and kneed myself in the face, Fanning said.

Joining Medina in the semi-finals is Frederico Morais, who won a storming heat with a perfect 10 on his final wave to end the hopes of world champion John John Florence.

Morais ripped a series of huge turns to get his first perfect score on tour, but admitted after seeing the shark he had reservations about getting in the water. Ill be honest, I hate sharks. We dont have to worry about that in Portugal so I am not used to that, he said.

With Florence out, Australias Matt Wilkinson will retain the leaders yellow jersey irrespective of the result in his quarter-final against Wilson.

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