CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Pro surfer punches shark amid attack; Internet gasps

Technically Incorrect: A video shared globally on Sunday shows a shark attacking Mick Fanning during a competition. His survival instincts are considerable.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


mickfanning.jpg
A fin heads for a surfing Aussie. World Surfing League/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

As I'm sure the Donald would agree, reality trumps everything.

So when I received a link to a video from four separate people before I'd even had time to finish my coffee, I knew this must be something real.

Here was Australian pro surfer Mick Fanning competing in the finals of the World Surf League's J-Bay Open in South Africa on Sunday.

And here, suddenly, was a shark intrigued by his presence -- or, perhaps, hungry for world fame.

The video was initially posted by the World Surf League itself. However, it was soon swimming in the world's Internet waters as the BBC and many other outlets offered it for wholesale consumption.


The Twitter hashtag #MickFanning was adorned with his anointment to hero status, as well as one wide-eyed Twitterer informing the world that she'd met Fanning two and a half years ago at a house party.

The hashtag #Mick Fanning Shark offered all the assorted news clips of the action.

YouTube was full of so many postings of the video that I lost count.

Of course, the joy from all this is that Fanning, though shaken, escaped injury. Fox Sports quoted Fanning as saying: "I was just sitting there, I was just about to start moving, and then I felt something grab, just get stuck in my leg rope. I instantly just jumped away, and then it just kept coming at my board. I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me. I punched it in the back."

Many will surely have the same reaction as one of the commentators on the live feed, as he recognized that there was a flapping fin and a fighting Aussie: "Oh, holy s***."

Despite this musing, the commentators maintained a surfy serenity that suggested the surfing community differs greatly from, say, the Nascar community.

The World Surf League, which wisely canceled the rest of the day's competition, offered this measured statement: "We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today. Mick's composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable -- they are truly world class at what they do."

I'm sure that the interviews and endorsement offers will roll in for at least the next, oh, two days. Such is the way the Internet turns over its tables and its fables.

For now, please look out for the Left Shark adaptation and commentary from the makers of " Sharknado 3." There will also be myriad of memes and Vines that will keep office workers enthralled through all of Monday. And what will Samsung do? It's a partner of the World Surf League. The Galaxy S6 Jaws, anyone?

The Internet loves a survivor -- which, I assume, the shark is too.