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Mick Fanning Gets Up Close To Great White Shark...For The Second Time

Four years after fighting off a Great White in that now-infamous J-Bay Open final in South Africa, Mick Fanning has come face-to-face with another shark in the hopes it will encourage more research into the ocean predators.

Recalling the moment in the 2015 final when he heard the splash of the shark behind him, Fanning said he remembered concentrating on trying to get his board between himself and the great white.

Mick Fanning being attacked by the shark. Image: World Surf League/Getty

"Once it knocked me off and I got dragged underneath by my leg rope a little bit it was like uh-oh," he told The Sunday Project's Tommy Little.

"And then it sort of came back around and the last thing I saw was my board just sailing off into the sunset on its fin."

Image: The Sunday Project

Little joined Fanning in South Australia's Port Lincoln -- a hotspot for shark tourism -- where the three-time surfing world champion is filming for an upcoming documentary 'Save This Shark'.

As they prepared to dive with sharks, Fanning said the attack, which he describes simply as "the incident" left him wanting to know why it happened.

"People just think they’re these crazy man-eaters and they have these huge teeth," he said.

"But I think there’s more to them. I think we don’t have enough research on them. They’re the apex predator of the ocean, they’re the ones that make sure that everything is flowing perfectly in the ocean."

Image: The Sunday Project

Fanning, who first started surfing at just 12 years of age after originally having his sights set on soccer, admitted he was still "100 percent" afraid of sharks despite agreeing to come face-to-face with them again.

"It's sort of like going into battle almost," he told Little ahead of their dive.

Image: The Sunday Project

"Leading up to this day there was a bit of anxiety building up there was a bit of nerves you know ‘ oooh am I really doing this?’ and like you think do I really want to go and jump in the cage."

Fanning believes experiencing shark dives could be a way to change people's minds about the marine giant.

Image: The Sunday Project.

"People are gonna watch this and go they’re crazy what are they doing that for, but until you actually get down and you see the way they move and you see how majestic and how powerful they are you can’t get a real appreciation."

Watch Mick Fanning and Tommy Little come face-to-face with great white sharks on The Sunday Project from 6:30pm on 10.