SAINT- DENIS, Reunion Island – A family is mourning the loss of a 13-year-old surfing champion following a deadly shark attack.
Elio Canestri was with six other people on Sunday off the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
“He was someone who always listened to his parents,” Giovanni Canestri, the boy’s father, told RTL. “He analyzed danger intelligently, he was a competitor.”
The restrictions were put in place following 16 shark attacks over the past four years. Seven of those attacks have proved fatal.
Giovanni Canestri says his son was always very careful in the water and had even left a note for his mother just hours before his death.
“Don’t worry, Mom,” Elio Canestri wrote. “I’m going surfing. If there’s no security, I won’t surf.”
The president of the French Surfing Federation says it was impossible to blame the 13-year-old for what happened, adding that he was pursuing his passion.
“Fate decided one day to take him away and he is gone,” Giovanni said.