An Australian surfer is counting his lucky stars after fighting off a shark attack during a live broadcast competition in South Africa Monday.

In footage circulating online Monday, commentators look on in shock a shark fin suddenly appears circling World Surf League champion Mick Fanning, as he attempts to paddle away. The video then shows a brief struggle, after which safety boats finally pull Fanning to safety.

Speaking on board the safety boat after the incident, Fanning told World Surf League TV that he escaped harm by punching the shark in the back.

"I had this feeling that something was behind... and all of a sudden I felt like I started getting pulled underwater. And then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there," he said.

"I had this thought, what if it comes around for another go at me?" he added, "before I knew it, the boat was there. ...I can't believe it, I was tripping out. I'm totally tripping out ...I was waiting for the teeth to come at me."