MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Three-times world champion Mick Fanning has returned to the water for his first surf since surviving a shark attack off the coast of South Africa last weekend.
The 34-year-old Australian paddled out early on Saturday near his Tweed Heads home in northern New South Wales state and posted a photo of himself on Instagram looking out at the sea.
"First surf back. Feels so good," he said in the post.
Fanning also paid tribute to Andy Irons, a three-time world champion from Hawaii, who died in 2010 from a heart attack and would have passed his 37th birthday on July 24.
"Surfed by myself but had Andy in my thoughts. Happy Birthday brother," he added.
Fanning returned home on Tuesday visibly shaken after the shark attack which was captured on live television when he was paddling out in the final of the World Surf League's J-Bay Open on Sunday.
Fanning said it was a "miracle" he had escaped without a scratch but was determined the attack would not make him turn his back on surfing, saying he would need "maybe a week, maybe a month" to get back on his board.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)