Two weeks after he went missing, the family of surfer Adam Francis D’Esposito was told the worst: he was found in Mexico, dead from an apparent drowning. As the world mourns, learn more about Adam.
Adam Francis D’Esposito, a 39-year-old surfer who went by the nickname “Biff,” was last seen alive on Sept. 8, heading down to catch some waves in Mexico. When he didn’t come back, his family began a frantic search for answers. Their search was boosted online by friends and fans, including professional surfer Kelly Slater. Sadly, more than two weeks after he disappeared, his family was notified that he had been found dead by Mexican officials on Sept. 9, and that his body had been taken to a morgue in Rosarito, a town across the border near San Diego. Authorities have determined he drowned, but his family still continues to wonder what happened to him. Here is what’s known so far.
1. He was seen a few days before he was found dead. On Sept 5, Adam took his father’s 2001 silver Volvo down to Baja, an area in Tijuana popular with surfers, per the New York Post. It was a spot where Adam had been frequenting since he was a teen, and an owner of a local surf shop said that on Sept. 8, he saw Adam. “He [the shop owner] said [Adam] was in a bad state – scared,” Adam’s sister, Briana, told WCBS8. A passing driver also captured video of a shirtless and barefoot man running alongside a highway. Briana confirmed that the man in the video was her brother.
2. Adam was known as a big wave surfer – which is why his family questions his apparent drowning. “Since my brother is a big wave surfer, spending the better part of the last 20 years in Tahiti surfing some of the most dangerous waves in the world. It’s very hard for us and many of his friends to believe he would just drown. It seems like there has to be some more to the story that led him to that point,” his youngest sister Mary said, per NBC San Diego. Briana, in a Facebook post confirming Adam’s passing, said the “details of my brother’s death are still being sorted out.”
3. His family says he was diagnosed as bipolar. Adam’s struggle with mental illness may have played a role in his death. This year in February, he was diagnosed as bipolar,” Briana said, but added that he was never out of touch for an extended length of time.
View this post on Instagram
A familiar face in our surf world has been missing for nearly two weeks, last seen in Baja Malibu, Mexico on 8/9 driving a silver Volvo station wagon. It really hits home when someone you know goes missing. Please, anyone with any info whatsoever call the numbers on this post and/or leave a message below. Anything you might possibly have seen or heard could be helpful. You may have seen ‘Biff’ surfing in Tahiti or San Diego over the years. He’s been a familiar face in many lineups. 🙏🏽
A post shared by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on
4. He once survived a shark attack. While surfing the waves in Tahiti in 2012, Adam was attacked by a shark. As the beast bit off a piece of Adam’s board, right next to his hand, he managed to escape after elbowing the shark in the nose. “I thank God like 10 times every hour that I still have a hand,”
5. Adam leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with the funeral expenses, including transporting his daughter, Annabella, 6, and her mother (Adam’s girlfriend, Debbie) from New Jersey out to California. “All funds will go directly to Briana D’Esposito (sister of Adam). Briana will distribute the donations accordingly.”