Hurricane Irma has already made landfall and left 10 people dead—one of which was a promising young surfer from Barbados.
According to Surfline, 16-year-old Zander Venezia, a professional surfer from Bridgetown, Barbados, was catching giant waves produced by Irma at a local surf break known as “Box by Box” on Tuesday, when he reportedly lost his footing and hit a shallow reef. Per surf instructor Alan Burke, who is close to the Venezia family, the autopsy revealed that the young surfer was “knocked unconscious and drowned.”
Venezia’s reported last words were “I just got the best wave of my life!”
At just 16, Venezia was an up-and-coming (and decorated) surf star. At 11, he had been the reigning under-12 National Champion. He scored an open juniors title at the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s East Coast Regional Championship back in April and just last month, had won the 16-and-under division at the Rip Curl GromSearch.