The forty-six-year-old science and sports teacher who’d only moved to the coastal town in January was surfing the lefthander with a dozen others in the water, including kids.

Surfer killed by Great White in South Australian attack bravely warned others to go to shore as the shark swam towards him, “We saw the shark thrashing around out the back. (It came) back and got him for a third time”

“It was such a confronting incident. It could have been anyone. The worst part was there was a 13 year old out there and he witnessed everything."

The surfer hit and killed by a Great White shark on a crowded day at Walkers Rocks yesterday has been named as popular Elliston teacher Simon Baccanello, a brave soul who warned others to split as the shark started swimming towards him. 

The forty-six-year-old science and sports teacher who’d only moved to the coastal town known for its epic waves as well as its dark history of shark attacks, in January was surfing the lefthander with a dozen others in the water, including kids. 

When the White appeared, Baccanello told the terrified kids, “Don’t worry, get yourself to shore”.

Jaiden Millar, a twenty two year old, saw the whole damn thing.

“It was such a confronting incident. It could have been anyone. The worst part was there was a 13-year-old out there and he witnessed everything,” Millar told Adelaide Now. “There was a bloke on the beach tooting his horn and as I turned around I saw everyone paddling in. I saw his board tombstoning, which means he’s underwater and his board’s getting dragged under … trying to fight his way back up to the surface… He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark’s obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time”.

No body recovered yet, unlikely, although his board was found. 

“That was picked up pretty quickly,” Streaky Bay SES unit manager Trevlyn Smith told 7NEWS. “It had just one bite in the middle,” he said.

Ken Rosato (RIP) and the WSL's Joe Turpel. Photo: Instagram
Ken Rosato (RIP) and the WSL's Joe Turpel. Photo: Instagram

World Surf League broadcast team reels as New York morning show anchor fired immediately after hot mic catches “off-color” remark!

Troublesome times.

There is absolutely no denying that we live in extremely fraught times. Tensions high. Margin for error non-existent. Stray remarks that were once casually disregarded or ignored are now elevated to the apex of criminality and treated as such. Capital punishment. Oh there are a million and one traps in which to fall, racial, gender, political, religious, tonal, contextual plus any combination, and fall, daily, broadcasters do.

Those who make their living behind a microphone are, of course, in a much riskier position than the general public. Days ago an Oakland A’s on-air commentator uttered a slur and was suspended indefinitely. Hours ago the longtime anchor of New York’s “Eyewitness This Morning,” Ken Rosato, was immediately fired after making an “off-color” remark that was picked up by a hot mic.


Speculation ran wild that he too expressed a slur though that notion was struck down by his representative who released a statement reading, “Being fired for any racial slur is 100 percent inaccurate and untrue. Ken Rosato had a benchmark of 20 years at WABC of supporting all equality.”

Whatever the case, the World Surf League commentary team of Joe Turpel, Ronald Blakey, Kaipo Guerrero, Peter Mel, Rosy Hodge, Strider Wasilewski et. al. must certainly feel even more unstable this morning. Having to fill endless hours of air during professional surfing competitions, like, endless endless, the climate is absolutely ripe for one of them to “misspeak” and be relegated to the margins of Page Six before receiving ruthless execution at the hands of Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer.

While “hand jams” and “foamball monsters” toe the line of appropriate, the biggest current worry is likely the inability of any one of the crew to describe Brazilian surfers without using the word “passionate.”


Which is to say nothing about the sort of hot mic incident that undid Ken Rosato.

But do you imagine that the World Surf League Santa Monica headquarters has a running compendium of troublesome talk from each that is used in contract negotiations?

If we were to place odds on who would get fired for unacceptable speech, would Guerrero or Wasilewski be the favorite?

Joe Turpel is, honestly, so bland that he could sit in the booth and read from Mein Kampf and only succeed in gently annoying the censors.

It pays to be insipid.

Where did Pottz go again?

Great White shark “thrashed around with surfer for five minutes” before disappearing with body in horror South Australian attack

The attack has echoes of last year’s Great White hit on a swimmer at Sydney’s Malabar beach where rock fishermen watched as the swimmer was mauled and disappeared.

The small surf town of Elliston, six hundred clicks west of Adelaide, is in mourning tonight after a popular local surfer was killed in front of horrified onlookers at around ten am today.

The man, who was forty-six, was surfing Walkers Rocks, an intermediate sorta lefthander on the inside of the bay that’s also the home to Blackfellas, the wildly hollow left slab that is a favourite of Craig Anderson, Chippa Wilson and co and which has featured in innumerable surf movies.

According to reports, after the initial hit, the Great White continued to attack for five minutes before disappearing with the body which is unlikely to be recovered.

The attack has echoes of last year’s Great White hit on a swimmer at Sydney’s Malabar beach, where rock fishermen watched as the swimmer was mauled and disappeared.

“I heard a scream and the shark was just chomping on his body and the body was in half just off the rocks here,” said one witness.

Three years ago in Esperance in Western Australia, along the same migratory route for Great Whites, the well-known local surfer Andrew Sharpe was also killed and disappeared by a fifteen-foot White, his body never recovered.

A witness there said the dorsal fin and tail fin of the White were so big his initial thought was there were two sharks.

“I’ve never seen a dorsal fin that big before, not even in media footage,” he said.

Great White.

Surfer missing after being mauled by Great White shark at South Australian wave notorious for attacks, “Something needs to be done, there’s an imbalance!”

"All experienced surfers, particularly people who surf on the West Coast of South Australia, must be aware of the risk.”

A surfer in his forties is either missing or being treated for life-threatning injuries, depending on which news report y’read, after being mauled by a Great White shark while surfing at Elliston, a town of less than four hundred souls four hundred miles west of Adelaide and home to one of Australia’s best waves.

Details real light so far, authorities saying the attack happened around ten-fifteen this morning.

Hits by Great Whites around Elliston aren’t new.

In 2014, after being belted by a fifteen-foot White, local surfer Andrew McLeod called for an immediate cull.

“Just felt a massive force, like a car crash and I got thrown off my board,” he said. “It is an absolute fluke that I didn’t get killed because if it had taken any of my flesh, I think it would have come back for more. It is ridiculous that they’re classified as endangered and they should be harvested like every other resource.”

Another surfer Sam Board backed him up.

“Something needs to be done, there’s an imbalance. We don’t hesitate to take every other fish out of the ocean, but we leave the biggest ones.”

In 2000, two Great White attacks in two days shone a spotlight on the area’s shark population.

On September 24, New Zealand surfer Cameron Bayes was killed by a White at Cactus a few hours east of Elliston and the following day, seventeen-year-old surfer, Jevon Wright, was killed by a White while surfing around Elliston.

As the coroner later said,

“All experienced surfers, particularly people who surf on the West Coast of South Australia, must be aware of the risk.”

Elliston, y’might know, has a nasty history, and not just locals who weren’t afraid to light you up with shotgun pellets.

In 1839, on the sandstone cliffs above Elliston’s best wave Blackfellas, two hundred and fifty indigenous men, women and kids were pushed to their deaths in retribution for the death of the local magistrate.

As Hawaiian surfer Albee Layer said in 2015, “It feels like you’re tiptoeing around a sleeping beast and at any point you could be gone forever without a trace.”

Penny, a surfer, pairs Vans with suit. | Photo: NYTimes

Vans-wearing surfer charged with death of Michael Jackson impersonator Jordan Neely on New York subway!

Murder or a public service gone wrong?

A very tragic story, continuing to unspool, is that of former Marine Daniel Penny and his run-in with homeless Michael Jackson impersonator Jordan Neely on a New York City subway, leaving the later deceased.

According to bystanders, Neely entered the train around 2:15 in the afternoon and began shouting that he was hungry, thirsty and had little for which to live.

As his actions grew more erratic, Penny and two others restrained him, Penny applying a choke hold that was caught on camera by an independent journalist. The 24-year-old was interviewed by police but not arrested.

Neely was pronounced dead at a local hospital by way of homicide.

Hours ago, though, Penny was officially charged with manslaughter, appearing at a Manhattan court.

His attorney told CNN, that he will be “fully absolved of any wrongdoing,” and released a statement reading, “He risked his own life and safety, for the good of his fellow passengers. The unfortunate result was the unintended and unforeseen death of Mr. Neely.”

The Neely family, on the other hand, wishes that Penny was charged with murder declaring, “We believe that the conviction should be for murder because that was intentional. At some point, when people are screaming, ‘Let him go, you’re going to kill him’… He could’ve chosen to let him go, but he didn’t. And what did he think would happen if he didn’t? He had to know he would die. He had to.”

Neely, whose rap sheet featured forty two arrests, as well as an outstanding warrant for assault, beat hell out of a sixty-five-year-old woman in a random attack at a New York deli in 2021 and a few months later left a sixty-seven-year-old woman in the East Village with “a broken nose, fractured orbital bone and bruising, swelling and substantial pain”, an assault that got him a year at Rikers.

This extremely unfortunate business is, in any case, surf related as Penny has been described by all media outlets as “an avid surfer.”

His blonde curls certainly lend credence to the characterization as well as the Vans he paired with his suit for his court appearance.

All raising the question, when a surfer is charged with a crime, are you more likely to give him or her the benefit of the doubt (we’re all part of the same tribe etc.) or presume guilt (surfers are the worst)?

More as the story develops.