Mick Fanning of Australia won his first heat back in competition at the Billabong Pro Tahiti after his shark encounter in South Africa four weeks ago in Teahupo'o, French Polynesia, on August 15, 2015.
Kelly Cestari—World Surf League/Getty Images
August 17, 2015 3:28 AM EDT

Australian surfer Mick Fanning—who made headlines around the world last month after he fended off a shark attack in South Africa’s Jeffreys Bay on live television—was back in competition for the first time since that incident this weekend, but without his trusty yellow surfboard.

After hearing that some divers called the color of his old board “yum yum yellow” because it is thought to attract sharks, Fanning opted to swap his yellow board for blue and black one, Australian news portal news.com.au reports.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know exactly what was going to go through my head,” Fanning said in a videoblog entry posted online, describing the mild nerves he experienced before his return to competition. But after winning his first heat at Teahupo’o, French Polynesia, he said it felt “just like any other game day really.”

With a successful return behind him, Fanning now wants to focus on winning his fourth world championship. “There’s been so much hype about the incident in J-Bay and so much media attention,” Fanning told news.com.au. “And I just want to move on.”


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