Aussie superstar surfer Mick Fanning has made a successful return to Jeffreys Bay (J-Bay), the scene of his shark attack last year.
The 35 year-old took to the water for his opening heat today and made easy work of his opponents, Conner Coffin (USA) and Alejo Muniz (BRA) to advance into the next round of the ASP World Surfing League event in South Africa.
The three-time world champion was attacked at the event by what is believed to have been a great white shark last July. The terrifying footage, captured on live TV, was beamed all around the world and made international headlines.
It’s been a ridiculously tough twelve months for Fanning, with his brother passing away after heart complications in December 2015, and his marriage with Karissa Dalton breaking down in February 2016.
The traumatic events led to Fanning announcing that he would take a year off from competing on the world tour, but he’s still committed to competing in selected events, including J-Bay.
Fanning arrived in South Africa last week ahead of the competition and battled an ankle injury – which almost saw him have to sit out this year’s event.
After literally fighting off the shark, Fanning became a worldwide cult hero and the subject of memes like this one:
Fingers crossed he can win the whole thing – what a bloody brave legend!