Shark Attack Surfer Hails ‘Warrior' Pal Who Swam to Aid

Three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning who fought off a large shark with his bare hands during a surfing competition in South Africa -- a dramatic scenes that beamed live around the world-- paid tribute Tuesday to a "warrior" surf buddy who came to his aid as he was being attacked, NBC News reported. 

Fanning, 34, was competing against Julian Wilson on Sunday when he punched the shark after it attempted to pull him underwater by his foot rope. He yelled at Wilson, a fellow Aussie who he was mentoring as well as competing against, to get into shore, but Wilson paddled out towards the danger instead.

"At that stage I was just screaming and telling Jules to 'get in,'" Fanning told a press conference in Sydney, Australia. He said the 26-year-old Wilson was a "warrior" for "coming after me." The two were picked up by safety teams. 

Fanning told reporters the encounter with the shark "was so close. I'm doing OK, though. I haven't got a scratch on me. Just more of an emotional, mental sort of trauma right now."

"To walk away from a shark attack with not a scratch on you — it is a miracle really," he said.

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