Australian surfer Mick Fanning escaped from a shark attack injury-free, on Sunday, during the Jeffreys Bay Open, in South Africa. The three time surfing world-champion was in the water waiting for a wave when a fin surfaced right behind him. Fanning tried to paddle away before getting bumped off his board by the giant animal. The agonising moment was caught on live television [VIDEO] and everyone was left expecting the worse when a giant wave hid Fanning and the shark. The surfer managed to escape completely injury-free and was quickly taken out of the water by nearby rescue boats.

The Australian was still visibly shaken when he told reporters "I just saw the fin, I didn't see the teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming… I punched it in the back. I can't believe it. I'm just tripping".

He would later explain that "all of a sudden, I had this instinct that something was behind me. I felt something just get stuck in my leg rope, and I was kicking trying to get it away but it was still there, and I was still attached to my board. I felt like it was dragging me under water, and then my leg rope broke and I just started swimming and screaming".

His mother, Elizabeth Osborne, watched the attack unfold live on TV and described how she feared she had lost another son after Fanning's brother, Sean, died in a car crash over 17 years ago.

She told ABC News: "I was absolutely terrified. When that wave came through I just thought he'd gone. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I just wanted to save him… I went over to the Television almost as though I could pull him out… but there was nothing I could do".

After the incident, the World Surf League (WSL) decided to cancel the rest of the event and both finalists, Fanning and Julian Wilson, agreed to split the points and prize money.

Fanning is the third surfer with the most world titles ever, only behind Kelly Slater (11) and Mark Richards (4). He is currently second in the overall 2015 Surf League standings, with five events still to go. The next event starts August 14th in Tahiti.