Professional surfer, Zander Venezia, died while catching a wave off of Barbados as Hurricane Irma struck the caribbean. He was only 16 years old.
Zander Venezia, 16, has died, reports Surfline. The young professional surfer was with a group of friends riding the swell of waves caused by Hurricane Irma in Barbados on Tuesday, September 5. Zander was killed when he got caught under a wave, reportedly hitting his head on a shallow reef. According to professional surf instructor Alan Burke, an autopsy revealed that Zander was knocked unconscious and drowned before he could be saved. Another professional surfer, Nathan Florence, is the one who pulled Zander out of the water after he fell off of his board. You can see pictures of Hurricane Irma’s destruction in our gallery.
“I feel empty, we are in shambles over here,” Alan told the surfing news outlet in an exclusive interview. “I wasn’t there [at the spot], but my wife has been with the Venezia family at the hospital.” The instructor continued, “I’m told that Zander get overturned by a closeout set, where he likely hit bottom. Nathan Florence got to him first, then shouted for the other guys and started to perform CPR. Zander was bleeding, and he wasn’t moving. They tried to get him to the beach quickly, which was 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.”
Alan also shared Zander’s last words, who were spoken to another pro, Dylan Graves, “He told Dylan, ‘I just got the best wave of my life!'” Moments later the next set of waves came and took Zander’s life. Our condolences go out to Zander’s family, friends and loved ones as well as the entire surfing community.