AN Irish-Australian surfer had a close encounter yesterday - when he was almost killed by a shark.
Mick Fanning, 34, a professional surfer who grew up in New South Wales, was relaxing on his board after competing in a surfing competition off of the South African coast when the unidentified species of shark attacked.
The three-time world champion was filmed paddling out to ride his first wave at the J-Bay Open when a shark's dorsal fin broke the surface of the water.
The attack was captured on camera but luckily Fanning, whose father is from Co.Donegal, managed to escape unharmed.
He told World Surf League TV after the incident that he "punched" the shark on its back to scare it away.
An emergency response team arrived in jet skis and scared the animals away, while Fanning climbed aboard one of the vehicles.