Wednesday, November 24, 1999

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Jesse Spencer, left, bitten in the right arm by a shark last month while
surfing, joins "Baywatch Hawaii" cast Brandy Ledford, Michael Bergin
and Stacy Kamano in a scene filmed yesterday at Waimanalo Beach Park.

shark victim basks
in limelight as
‘Baywatch’ extra

Jesse Spencer also gets an
autograph from a former
Playboy playmate

By Tim Ryan


Jesse Spencer looked out of place, first on camera forcing a cheer for "Baywatch Hawaii" star Brooke Burns to the finish line in a "triathlon" at Waimanalo beach.

Then later he was surrounded by all the female "Baywatch" lifeguards -- Brandy Ledford and Stacy Kamano -- during a photo shoot for People magazine and the television show "Extra."

Not to be outdone, former Playboy Playmate Donna Perry -- Miss November 1994 and Michael W. Perry's daughter-in-law, also an extra on the show, offered to sign a picture of herself for the 16-year-old Kona surfer who in October was attacked by a shark that mangled his right arm.

Spencer pretty much got the star treatment for an extra's role on the "Baywatch Hawaii" episode "Xterra" filming yesterday at Waimanalo Beach. The program airs May 2 on KHON.

"It's not really boring or anything, but it sure takes a long time to get a scene right," said Spencer, whose arm remains in a sling. "I was just a guy in the crowd."

Spencer, 5-5 and 112 pounds was bitten by a 10-foot tiger shark while surfing at dusk Oct. 1 at Old Airport just north of Kona. He was invited to appear on "Baywatch" when show executives learned of Spencer's accident in a Star-Bulletin story.

Jessie, his mother Rose Singarella, and father Terrence Spencer, were on Oahu this week for a medical checkup at the Shriners Hospital for Children. The hospital is donating its services to repair the nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons in his arm. So far, only the artery has been reattached, Singarella said.

Spencer, a junior at Kealakehe High School, is expected to undergo surgery for as long as 18 hours -- using two different medical teams -- in early December, Singarella said.

The surgery aims to restore normal limb function but it won't be known for one to two years if the succeeds, Singarella said.

"I wouldn't look forward to any surgery, but I know the sooner I have this the sooner I'll have my arm back, and get in the water," said Spencer, who vows to surf again. "There's no doubt in my mind."

Local Motion had invited Spencer to visit its Waikiki store to pick out a new surfboard to replace the one bitten by the shark. On Monday, Spencer checked out the boards but is leaning toward ordering a custom-made one.

"It's not like I need it right now," Spencer said, laughing. "I've never had a board custom made just for me; I think that would be pretty cool."

Local Motion also gave Spencer trunks, T-shirts, and aloha shirts.

"When we heard about his accident from the Star-Bulletin story we wanted to encourage Jesse anyway we could to recover," said Calvin Maeda, Local Motion marketing director. "Every surfer's biggest fear is getting hit by a shark and Jessie's vow to get in the waves again is an inspiration for all of us."

Once Spencer is able to surf again, Local Motion will provide him with a Lycra top, wet suit, wax, and surf leashes.

"We'll cover him from head to toe," Maeda said.

"Baywatch Hawaii" also invited Jesse back to the set.

"They said anytime and I could bring some friends," Spencer said. "That's another definite."

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