Surfer Mick 'White Lightening' Fanning was attacked by a shark during a televised competition in South Africa.

In the video of the incident, the Australian surfer seemed to be forced off his board during the J-Bay Open event at the World Surf League in Eastern Cape.

The shark apparently flipped Fanning off his board, who is then seen fighting to get away from the fish.

The Australian told FOX Sports afterwards that he "punched the shark in the back" to escape.

"I was just sitting there and I felt something just get stuck in my leg rope, and I was kicking, trying to get it away," Fanning said afterwards.

"I instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming.

"I just saw fins. I was waiting for teeth. I punched it in the back," he said.

There were also unconfirmed reports of a second shark involved. The type of shark responsible for the incident is as yet unknown.

Fanning was able to swim away from the shark, which circled around him at a close distance. Competition organisers say the surfer was unharmed and the event was suspended.

The 34-year-old, who is a triple world champion, earned the nickname White Lightning because of his speed in the water.

Fanning was competing in the final against fellow Australian Julian Wilson when the attack happened.

Jeffreys Bay, or J-Bay as it is commonly known, is well known for shark attacks. Two years ago a 74-year-old man was bitten in half by a shark in the waters here. There are reports that there are more Great White sharks since they became a protected species in South Africa in the early 1990's.

Another theory is that there are more Whites coming closer to shore foraging for food as the fishing stocks become depleted.