GOLD COAST, Australia - Going surfing with Mick Fanning made Chad le Clos a little nervous. Fanning had to punch away a shark during a competition in South Africa in 2015, and the Aussie surfer's later interview describing the narrow escape became the stuff of legend.
Le Clos accepted the offer of a surfing lesson at Fanning's local Kirra Beach the morning after completing his swimming program at the Commonwealth Games — where he won five medals for South Africa — with one reservation. He wanted to know if there were any sharks in the water.
Fanning assured him he'd be fine and added, besides, it wasn't the sharks you could see that usually caused any problems.
"If you see 'em, you're sweet," he said, "they've already made up their mind."
That was good enough for le Clos, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 200-meter butterfly who surfed a bit while living in Durban but admitted he was a "bit too scared" to venture too deep since moving to Cape Town.