Friends and authorities say that Kalani David, a surfer and former junior world surfing champion, had a seizure while training in Costa Rica on Saturday and later died. Kalani David Feeney Barrientos was David’s full name and he was 24 years old.
The official investigating branch of Costa Rica, the Organismo de Investigación Judicial, reported to the Associated Press that David perished while surfing at Playa Hermosa in Jacó, a small town on the Pacific coast.
“He was surfing when he suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned,” they said in a message to The Associated Press. “The death is still under investigation.”
David was told he had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart condition that can cause his heart to beat quickly, make him unable to move and have seizures. David’s mother is Costa Rican, but he was born in Hawaii. He was also a skateboarder and he competed in competitions.
David won the Junior World Surfing Championship in Panama in 2012. He was competing in the under-16 age group. Friends and coworkers of David paid tribute to him on social media as the news of his death spread.
“Love you, Kalani,” filmmaker Peter King wrote on Instagram. “Only God knows His timing. Life isn’t easy. Always battling. Always learning. Heartbreaking news. Kalani passed away in Costa Rica (Saturday), he had a massive seizure while surfing. He had reconnected with family there and was having such a great time. I’ll always remember your stoke when we’d shoot skate n surf and how much hope you had for (your) future. God bless the family and extended family that were always there for you.”
In April 2012 David competed in the surfing ISA World Junior Championships in Panama and earned the gold medal in the 16 and under division. As Freesurf magazine pointed out, he undoubtedly possessed “hundreds if not thousands of trophies.”
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