Fanning made headlines for fighting off a shark during a live surfing competition in South Africa on July 19. The very next time he got in the water, he had another close-encounter with one of the fearsome predators.
Fanning, 34, who was “already on edge” when he went to surf at Hastings Point with a crew from the Australian TV news program 60 Minutes was driving a Jet Ski with a friend when he spotted the fin of a shark very close to him.
“I was lucky that I was just on the back of the Jet Ski and I was actually looking at another wave to catch,” Fanning told Good Morning America. “I was okay. I went in and regrouped.”
Fanning told Australia's Courier Mail that he's been having nightmares and plans to seek counseling to deal with the emotional toll of his encounter.
Returning to the water quickly was a way for Fanning to move forward.
“I just didn’t want to leave it too long,” he told GMA. “I felt like if I left it too long, I would start playing tricks with myself and having too many mind games go on, so I just really wanted to get it done pretty quickly.”
Peter Stefanovic, the 60 Minutes reporter, was with Fanning's mom, Elizabeth Osborne, who got to see the second encounter right from the beach. Osborne saw the first shark attack on TV and told reporters she went to the screen as though she "could pull him out of the television."
"With mom, you sort of just smile and laugh a little bit and make sure that’s she okay and then just run away before she can grab you again and hold you in,” Fanning told GMA.
Fanning is now back at the gym and getting ready for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, a World Surfing League competition that begins on August 14.
“Everything is starting to feel like it’s moving in the right direction and i just hope we get some really good waves over there,” he said; some good waves and no sharks, that is.