A 16-year-old budding pro surfer who won his category in North Carolina’s Rip Curl Grom Search surfing competition two weeks ago has died trying to surf the waters churned up by Hurricane Irma.
Zander Venezia of Bridgetown, Barbados, died Tuesday while trying to catch a wave in the shallow, rocky waters off Barbados, according to media outlets.
Surfline.com reported the news, explaining Venezia possibly broke his neck after being driven to the bottom by the waves.
“Bleeding and unresponsive, he was pulled out of the water by Nathan Florence, who was among a cadre of pros who flew over to Barbados to catch the mega-swell currently being generated by Hurricane Irma,” Surfline.com reported.
The teen was pronounced dead at a hospital after about 75 minutes of nonstop CPR, according to media outlets.
Venezia “defied the laws of physics” in his performance in N.C.’s Rip Curl Grom Search competition on Aug. 18, RipCurl.com reported. He won the boys 16 and under competition.
It was held at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. First prize was $250 in cash and bragging rights.
He was still posting comments on social media about North Carolina’s waves as recently as last Friday, noting he “had a blast in the Outer Banks.”