Professional surfer Mick Fanning has been attacked by a shark during a televised World Surfing League tournament at J-bay on the eastern cape of South Africa.

The three-time world champion punched the shark multiple times in an attempt to stop the attack.

Following the attack and the spotting of two great whites in the area, the surfing competition has been cancelled.

After the attack Fanning had this to say:

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. Swimming and screaming and shouting to Jules (Julian Wilson) to move.

Fanning was picked up by a jet ski after the attack and taken to shore.

“I can’t believe it, I’m tripping out.”

“I’m happy to not even to compete ever again. Seriously, to walk away from that, I’m just so stoked.”

Water Brothers’ Sid Abruzzi, the east coast surfing legend known as the Godfather of surf and skate, could not recall another time in the history of professional surfing where an attack occurred.

“This is the first time I can ever remember an attack happening at a tour event and it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever seen an attack on live television. I’m just happy that Mick and Jules and are ok and no one was hurt, surfing is a very tight knit community and this could have been devastating.”