Zander Venezia, a 16-year-old professional surfer from Barbados made a fateful mistake on Tuesday. Trying to take advantage of the ultimate waves being caused by Hurricane Irma, he and other surfers took to the water at a beach called Box by Box and the results were tragic as Venezia fell off his board, was knocked unconscious, and drowned.
Nathan Florence was with Venezia that day and was the first to reach him. He immediately started CPR and said;
“Zander was bleeding, and he wasn’t moving. They tried to get him to the beach quickly, which was very difficult. Box by Box is a tough place to get in and out of, even if you have the ability. There’s lots of big rocks around, and some stick out of the water.”
Heavy surf claims the life of 16-year old Zander Venezia. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family.
— World Surf League (@wsl)
Another surfer Dylan Graves was the last one to talk with Venezia. The young surfer told him “I just got the best wave of my life!” The next set of waves which they call a ‘closeout set’, was the one that killed him.
Veteran surfer Mark Holder spoke on the dangers of Box on Box beach;
“That wave only breaks when you have hurricane swells and it breaks in a different direction, so that swell breaks like once in a blue moon. When it is breaking guys go there because it is a beautiful wave, but it is pretty dangerous. In my 45 years, I have never surfed that break…”
Venezia was expected to represent Barbados in the 2020 Olympics. It will be the first year that the games have featured surfing.
The Barbados Surfing Association released a statement regarding the young man’s death expressing their “heartfelt sorrow and sincere sympathy that we today mourn the loss of one of our extremely talented young surfers. Zander may you continue to ride the waves in heaven.”
Sources: Daily Mail –