Australian three-times world champion surfer Mick Fanning said today (21 July) it could be some time before he is over the emotional trauma of being attacked by a shark.

Fanning, 34, was taking part in the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa when the unidentified species of shark knocked him off his board on Sunday.

He fought off the circling predator with his fists before a rescue jet-ski picked him up.

After returning to Sydney, he spoke of the incident during a news conference today.

He said: "Yeah, I'm doing ok. I haven't got a scratch on me, sort of more of an emotional, mental, sort of trauma right now, and it'll probably take couple of weeks, months, I don't know how long it's going to take, but I'm just lucky I've got really good people around me, and great friends to pick me up."

He spoke of feeling overwhelmed during the flight back.

"I was sitting next to a lady and she opened up a newspaper and there I was on the front page, and she's like: 'Oh, is this you?' I just saw the photo and all the emotion came back, and I had to look out the window. Tears started running down my face, and then I had to work myself up to be able to read the article," he said.

Asked by reporters about his feelings towards that shark, he said; "Yeah, I don't know, thanks for not eating me. Yeah, I don't know, we're in their domain."

The incident, which was broadcast on live TV, led to the cancellation of the final against fellow Australian Julian Wilson.