- Surfing legend Mick Fanning, 39, opens up about the aftermath of shark attack
- The doting dad of one has PTSD and relives the scary 2015 event in nightmares
- Fanning said he 'freaks' when somebody now splashes in the water behind him
- He has spent 12 months working on a National Geographic shark documentary
- He also welcomed his first child, Xander, with 27-year-old Breeana Randall
Surfing legend Mick Fanning has revealed he suffers from recurring nightmares after being subject to an infamous shark attack during a competition.
The 39-year-old said he is haunted by the great white attack in the water at Jefferys Bay, South Africa, which took place on live television watched by thousands of horrified fans.
He was participating in the World Surf League Championship Tour in July 2015 when the great white attacked.
Fanning told The Australian he had post-traumatic stress disorder and 'freaks' out whenever somebody splashes behind him in the water as it was a reminder of the six-metre beast.
'I mean, it's like I'm in the actual position I was in, It's a reality dream,' he said.
'You sort of learn your body can do so many things to make things real and not real and I just had to learn, "OK, that moment's been done. It's not real. These dreams are just coming back".'
Another trigger for Fanning's nightmares is re-watching footage from the 60 minutes interview he did after the encounter.
'There was a camera coming up from behind me and that sparked it all again,' he said.
Fanning was four minutes into the competition when the great white circled him.
He told Stellar he thought he was done for but managed to survive by kicking and punching it in the nose.
'I thought I was going to die. I guess everyone watching on from the beach that day, and on the live broadcast all over the world, thought the exact same thing,' Fanning he said.
It was the year from hell for Fanning, having his marriage to Karissa Dalton crumble about the same time and his other brother, Pete, 43, dying from an enlarged heart.
He retired from surfing in 2018 due to feeling like he 'lost the drive to compete day-in day-out'.
'It's been something I've been doing for 17 years, and even before that through QS and juniors, and I feel that I just can't give it 100 per cent anymore,' he said, The Guardian reported in February 2018.
'I'm just not enjoying it as much as I was in the past. I still love surfing, and I'm still super excited by it, but I feel that's there's other paths for me to take at this stage in my life.'
Fanning now has more time for his 27-year-old fiancée Breeana Randall, who welcomed their first child together on August 10.
Fanning and Randall have been together since November 2017.
He still surfs regularly and has spent the past 12 months travelling the world and working with a film making team to craft Save This Shark, a two-part National Geographic documentary.
It dives into him speaking with world-leading shark scientists and conservationists worldwide to share a broader understanding of the deep, their habits and 'see what’s actually happening out there'.
While Fanning is still haunted by the 2015 attack, he looks at the documentary as a learning opportunity to try and understand the encounter.
'I was so insignificant to that shark ... I try to explain to people that when a shark wants to do something, it doesn't matter what you do. People say, 'Punch this or punch that'. Bullshit. It's pretty much doing whatever the hell it wants to do and if you get away from it, then you're OK. You're lucky. If it wants you, you're gone,' he told The Australian.
Fanning added he would continue to be a doting dad to Xander Dean Fanning and showing him the ropes in the water as he grows, if he wants, despite his experience.