It was an image that symbolised the Australian value of mateship that spread across the world yesterday following Mick Fanning’s near-escape from a shark attack, and now the pro surfer has shared it again alongside an emotional reflection of his harrowing experience.
Yesterday footage went viral of the Australian surfer coming under attack from the shark during the final of the J-Bay World Surf League event in South Africa on Sunday.
The footage also showed Fanning’s rival and fellow Australian surfer Julian Wilson immediately paddling towards Fanning while he was struggling in the water, in a desperate attempt to help him.
Once he was recovered, the pair were photographed hugging emotionally.
“So thankful to be able to have this hug with @julian_wilson, this man came to my aid like a warrior!!,” Fanning wrote on Instagram, not long after the incident.
“It was by far the scariest thing I have ever been through and am still rattled. In our sport we always think about sharks and know we are in their domain. Many thanks to all the people that have reached out and sent their wishes.
“Jbay is an incredible place and I will go back one day,” he added. “Thanks to the @wsl announcers and water patrol for being on top of us and the care they showed us and to all my friends on tour that were by my side. Love you all.”
Following the incident and soon after he reached shore, Wilson broke down in tears in an interview, expressing his concern at the time that he wouldn’t get to Fanning in time.
He seems in better spirits now, tweeting a photo from the plane, captioned with “Let’s go home. Thank you everyone for the kind & thoughtful messages. Cheers to @Mick_Fanning for still being with us.”
Fanning is due to arrive in Sydney this afternoon and is expected to speak publicly about the incident, before flying home to Queensland.
— Julian Wilson (@julian_wilson) July 20, 2015