The surfing community has reacted with shock and sadness to the untimely death of 16-year-old Zander Venezia.
The online surfing site Surfline today described Venezia as “a budding young pro surfer from Bridgetown, Barbados”, who died today after surfing a particularly heavy session at a notoriously shallow wave on the island’s east coast.
The 16-year-old apparently sustained a broken neck upon hitting the reef and was pulled from the water and rushed to hospital before he was pronounced dead.
He was among a group that included a number of international pros who reportedly flew over to Barbados to catch the mega-swell currently being generated by Hurricane Irma.
“Completely horrible news,” was how local surf instructor Alan Burke described the surfing tragedy.
“We are in shambles . . . We just traveled the whole east coast together, surfing the outer banks together. Zander was such a good, funny kid. He was always joking, and he loved surfing. I just can’t believe he’s gone. I’m a mess, man. We’re all a mess over here,” he was quoted by Surfline as saying.