Not many people can say they've tangled with a great white shark and lived to tell the tale. But the entire world can tell of the time they witnessed 3x world champion surfer Mick Fanning do just that. The thing we all witnessed (and lots of us watching live) was easily the scariest thing we saw all year long. How Mick Fanning swam away unscathed from the run-in with the ocean's greatest predator is one of the things we're most thankful about when we look back on 2015.
December is always a good time to reflect on the year that has been—and what a year 2015 has been! World firsts, record breakers, and tons upon tons of tires slayed are only a few of the incredible moments that went down this year. To commemorate the year that was, we're launching the first-ever Network A Awards to give props where props are deserved.
Check out the categories (and finalists) below and let us know who you think should win! Here's to 2015 wrapping up with a bang and going right into a great year for 2016.
Mick appeared on 60 Minutes Australia and let the cameras follow him for his first surf back in the water since the July 19 attack. And wouldn't you know it, Mick saw another shark in his return to the ocean.
Sometimes that's just how it goes, and Mick knows that sharks exist and they're out there. And he also donated his entire 60 Minutes fee to Matthew Lee, a surfer who was attacked in Ballina, Australia earlier in July and lost both his legs.
Mick Fanning was already a legend in the surf world before fighting off a great white shark at the JBay Open. Now, he is a legend of human history for being at the center of the most widely documented shark attack ever.
As the Internet will do, it created memes. So here's our 15 favorites and here's a raised beer in honor of Mick Fanning still being with us today.
What a wild and lucky Sunday it was at Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa. Not only the entire surfing world, but also the entire world itself is now well aware of Mick Fanning's fighting off a great white during the final of the JBay Open and coming away physically unscathed.
If not for Fanning's quick instincts to do exactly what he needed to, and the speedy response by the Water Safety team, this would be a much harder story to digest. Easily the most witnessed shark attack in the history of human existence, Mick Fanning is clearly counting his stars today.
The World Surf League, Julian Wilson, and Mick Fanning have all decided that it was best to cancel the contest and split the points and winnings. They've felt it was no longer safe and not worth risking things after the luck they had.
Now let us not scream death to all sharks and go on manhunts. Rather, let us realize that sharks exist in their natural habitats and as surfers we will encounter them from time-to-time. In this humble writer's opinion, I do not believe the shark wanted a taste of Mr. Fanning—if he had he would've taken one and no leash (or much of anything really) would've stopped him.
There's going to be lots about this incredibly strange and incredibly fortunate event for time to come. The World Surf League now has the entire world's attention. Where they decide to go with it could shape the future of surfing as we know it.
Take a watch below of the footage again and get the behind-the-scenes of the moments in the aftermath when Mick and Julian Wilson triumphantly returned to shore.
Will it be Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, or Gabriel Medina?
Heavy hitters in the water
With the likes of Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Jordy Smith, and more