Police stand over the body of Elio Canestri shortly after the attack. Photo: : Mirror.co.uk
The 13-year-old surfing champion who died in a shark attack
reportedly left a note for his mother saying that he would not go in
the water unless there were spotters watching the ocean for the
"Don't worry, Mom," Elio Canestri wrote. "I'm going surfing. If there's no security, I won't surf."
After revealing the
note, Canestri's grieving father Giovanni told French broadcaster RTL
that his son had "always been very careful" in the waters off the coast
of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion where they live. Elio was with six
other people on Sunday when he was fatally attacked.
"He was someone who
always listened to his parents," Giovanni Canestri told RTL. "He
analyzed danger intelligently, he was a competitor."
activities are banned on the island unless spotters are in place due to
16 shark attacks — seven of them fatal — over the past four years.
"Titi was devoured by
his passion," his father added, using the family nickname for the boy.
"Fate decided one day to take him away and he is gone."
The president of the French Surfing Federation said it was "impossible to blame the young boy" for what occurred.
"Despite the ban in
place and the instructions of his coach, how could one forbid a young
boy of 13 from pursuing his passion when one lives on an island
surrounded by the ocean and these magnificent waves," said Jean Luc
Arassus, who flew out to the island late Monday.
Although safety nets to
prevent shark attacks have now been placed in waters near where Elio was
attacked, Arassus called for solutions to be found so that the pastime
"Surfing is part of the DNA of Reunion [and] is an uncontrollable passion," he said. "You cannot ban it."
Friends posted a video tribute to Elio on YouTube and a Facebook page dedicated to his memory had also received almost 8,000 likes by early Tuesday.