A surf­ing com­pe­ti­tion will nev­er get a larg­er audi­ence than it had at the J‑Bay Open in South Africa. That’s because a great white shark attacked Aus­tralian surf cham­pi­on Mick Fan­ning dur­ing the finals.

It’s ter­ri­fy­ing to witness.

The large fin appears behind him like a night­mare. What hap­pens next is obscured in splash­ing, but from Fanning’s account the shark bit through his leg rope, and he punched it in the back before it retreated.

The great white was at least 10 feet long.

Think about it for a sec­ond. An apex preda­tor attacked one of the sport’s best ath­letes dur­ing the finals on live tele­vi­sion. That’s like a griz­zly bear claw­ing LeBron James; like a moun­tain lion jump­ing on the back of Tom Brady; it’s absurd, but that’s exact­ly what happened.

Thank­ful­ly, Fan­ning escaped unscathed. The sport of com­pet­i­tive surf­ing, how­ev­er, has a lot of ques­tions now cir­cling around it.