SAN JOSÉ — Former world junior surfing champion Kalani David died on a beach in Costa Rica this weekend after suffering a seizure while practicing the sport in which he excelled at sea, friends and family have announced. authorities. He was 24 years old.
Kalani David Feeney Barrientos, known internationally only by his first names, was born in Hawaii to a Costa Rican mother and suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital heart condition that caused paralysis and seizures.
However, his illness did not prevent him from succeeding in the sport and he practiced both surfing and skateboarding. He won the world junior surfing title in Panama in 2012, in the under-16 category, while competing for the top spots on major skate circuits.
The young American died on Saturday morning in Playa Hermosa, Jacó, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Forensic Investigation Agency said.
“He was surfing when he apparently suffered some sort of seizure and drowned,” the entity said in a message to The Associated Press. “The death is still under investigation.”
Filmmaker Peter King was one of the first to reveal his death via social media, while praising his fighting spirit.
“Oh my friend, I love you Kalani! Only God knows his time. Life is not easy. Always fighting. Always learning,” he said.
Various personalities in the surfing world echoed the news soon after, such as 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
“Kalani was one of the most talented surfers/skaters in the world,” he said on his networks.
His illness forced him to interrupt his sporting career on several occasions, but he then resumed it.
“He was constantly pushing his limits,” Slater added. “My condolences to the great family and friends that Kalani had on all the beaches in the world.”