Mick Fanning: ‘I had to face my fear’
HIS terrifying encounter with a great white shark the pro tour in South Africa has led Australian surfer Mick Fanning to face his fear - and it's all been caught on camera.
The three-time world surfing champion became 'the guy who punched a shark' and survived after his headline-making near-miss while competing in the Jefferys Bay Open in 2015.
Fanning teamed with global experts to explore shark conservation and "heal himself" in documentary Save This Shark. A preview was revealed to family and friends at Balter Brewing Company on Sunday.
Fanning spoke about his desire to learn more about sharks and part of that was by coming face-to-face.
"I didn't know how I'd react once I saw the shark … but I needed to heal myself and see if I've gotten over the nightmares I've had.
"The anxiety and nerves come back up and I personally didn't know how it was going to go, but they're such incredible creatures.
"It dawned on me how important sharks are, they rule the ocean for a reason. I'm so glad I've done it. It also answered a lot of questions."
The documentary was shot at five spots including the Neptune Islands at South Australia, Miami and the Bahamas. It also featured top singer-songwriter Amy Shark who on Sunday revealed she also battled a fear of sharks after watching the movie Jaws too young.
She said it was also where her stage name - Amy Shark - originated.
Shark joined Fanning in the water at South Australia which helped her to change her mind about sharks.
"I'm lucky I got to go in a cage with Mick Fanning … and there was no time to be scared," Shark said. "I'm so proud of myself. It changed my whole mindset about the great white shark."
Save This Shark airs on National Geographic in September.
Originally published as Mick Fanning: 'I had to face my fear'