Surfer with Malin roots fights off huge shark

Mick Fanning, whose father is from Malin Head, fought off a giant shark in South Africa at the weekend.

Mick Fanning, whose father is from Malin Head, fought off a giant shark in South Africa at the weekend.

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The son of a Malin Head émigré and former world champion surfer has survived a shark attack in South Africa.

Mick Fanning fought off the giant predator during a surfing competition at Jeffreys Bay.

The Australian, whose father John emigrated from Inishowen, was unharmed but the World Surf League’s J-Bay Open was cancelled in the wake of the attack.

Speaking about his Malin roots in the past Mr Fanning stated: “My parents being Irish were very loyal people, very honest. That’s one thing I try to be. If I have a friend I will be with them to the death. That’s the way it is. The way you have to roll.”

The WSL issued an official statement following the incident: “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.

“The safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both Finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express our gratitude to the Water Safety Team.”

My parents being Irish were very loyal people, very honest