Kelly Slater Says Shark Was Spotted Hours Before Mick Fanning's Attack

Pam WrightLife

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Kelly Slater is saying his friend "clearly" saw a shark in the water several hours before Mick Fanning was attacked.

Ever since Fanning was attacked in dramatic footage caught of the incident, other footage caught during the surfing championship event in South Africa has been scoured to see if the shark can be seen at any other time during the day. And footage does appear to indicate a shark lurking about throughout the day.

According to the Sydney Herald, "during Fanning's heat at the J-Bay Open, television cameras were able to pick up a dark shadow and what could be the dorsal fin of a shark a little further out from where Fanning was paddling four hours before he punched a three-metre shark."

Kelly Slater, the 11-time world surfing champion, said he received an email from a friend who said he saw the shark during the quarterfinals.

"I got an email from a friend tonight who said he clearly saw a shark figure in a wave during the quarterfinals from a drone shot," Slater wrote on an Instagram post accompanying a photo of he and Fanning hugging after the terrifying ordeal.

"Glad to know this guy and even happier that he swam/walked away unscathed. There were multiple water photogs (sic) swimming all day. I believe good things come to good people and although you can't say this was 'good', the outcome was amazing.

Mick Fanning, Julian Wilson and Kelly Slater recounted the incident from each of their perspectives.

"The scariest moment was when he turned around to face where the shark would be coming from after swimming 20 meters towards shore. I can't even imagine the vulnerability he must've felt," said Slater. "Great job by the contest announcers [and] water safety for getting right on it."

The attack was shown live on television and watched by millions on social media as Fanning punched the shark twice before swimming to the safety of competition officials on boats and jetskis out in the water.

"I was just about to start moving and then I felt something grab [and] get stuck in my leg rope," said Fanning of the moment he could well have lost a limb or his life. "And I instantly just jumped away and it just kept coming at my board. I was just started kicking and screaming. Wow!

"I just saw fin, I didn't see the teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming."

Pam Wright