I’ll surf again, says Fan­ning:

Fan­ning vows to con­front his fear af­ter cheat­ing shark at­tack death

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TAY­LOR AUER­BACH

SURF­ING world cham­pion Mick Fan­ning says he’ll get back in the wa­ter once he deals with the emo­tional trauma of his ter­ri­fy­ing shark at­tack in South Africa.

He re­turned to Aus­tralia yesterday, still emo­tional from the at­tack dur­ing the fi­nal of the World Surf League event at Jef­freys Bay on Sun­day.

The 34- year- old from the Gold Coast punched the shark on live tele­vi­sion be­fore res­cue crews pulled him and com­pa­triot Ju­lian Wil­son to safety.

“It was so close. I’m do­ing OK, though. I haven’t got a scratch on me. Just sort of more of an emo­tional, men­tal sort of trauma right now,” he told re­porters af­ter touch­ing down yesterday af­ter­noon.

While he plans to surf again soon, he’s not sure when.

“Yeah, I’m sure I’ll go surf­ing,” he said.

“Surf­ing has given me so much. It’s some­thing I do to clear my mind, it’s some­thing that gives me peace. “I’m sure I’ll go back out.” And he says he’ll def­i­nitely surf again at Jef­freys Bay, which he rates as one his favourite places in the world.

“I have to go back. It will be hard. But you have to face these things front on. In the end, I have to deal with it when I come to it,” he said.

But he’s still deal­ing with the emo­tions of his ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It will prob­a­bly take — I don’t know — a cou­ple of weeks, months ... I don’t know how long it’s go­ing to take,” Fan­ning said. “But I’m just lucky I’ve got re­ally good peo­ple around me and great friends to just pick me up.

“When it went down, it hap­pened so fast. When you are in that mo­ment, it seems like it goes for­ever. The thing for me was see­ing the sight of it, that was the scari­est. It was just like ‘ OK are we ready for this?’ ”

Re­serv­ing his great­est praise for his mate “Jules”, the man who risked his own life to save his child­hood hero, Fan­ning said: “Ju­lian is the su­per­hero,” adding he sup­ported Queens­land Premier Anas­ta­sia Palaszczuk’s sug­ges­tion of a brav­ery award for the Sun­shine Coast surfer.

Wil­son, who was com­pet­ing against his idol in the fi­nal, pad­dled to­ward Fan­ning to help him as the shark at­tacked and said he would be back in the su surf when he g got home.

Mick Fan­ning yesterday ( main); be­ing at­tacked by the shark ( above); and Ju­lian Wil­son ( left) who pad­dled to help Fan­ning.

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