A 16-year-old professional surfer has died after hitting a reef while surfing in Barbados during Category 5 Hurricane Irma.
Zander Venezia reportedly fell off his board and hit a reef, according to World Surf League.
The incident happened at a beach called Box by Box, where Zander and other surfers were riding a swell made by Irma.
He was taken to hosptial and died on Tuesday afternoon.
Alan Burke, a fellow surfer, spoke to Surfline magazine and said:
Zander was bleeding, and he wasn’t moving. They tried to get him to the beach quickly, which was very difficult.
Box by Box is a tough place to get in and out of, even if you have the ability.
When they finally did get him in, they performed CPR on the beach.
The ambulance came really swiftly from Speightstown, and the whole drive Nathan Florence, Dylan Graves and the paramedics continued to try and revive him.
Once they got him to the hospital, Zander was breathing but not responsive.
From the time Nathan got to him in the water to when they arrived at the hospital, it was about 75 minutes of nonstop CPR.
Zander was a promising surfer and had won many events, including the Rip Curl Grom Search at the Outer Banks in North Carolina just last month.
In April he won the National Scholastic Surfing Association regional championships.
Zander had a dream to surf at the 2020 Olympic games and was set to compete in more championships over the next couple of months.
When he went into the water to test the waves he told fellow surfer Dylan Graves it was the ‘best wave of his life’.
@zandervenezia By all accounts you were as good a friend as you were a surfer…thank you for the impact you had on those around you for a life lived with joy and purpose. And thank you for taking this photo with me when you were 5. I will cherish it always. @louis_venezia sorry doesn't cover it. Words cannot suffice for your family and the loss of a son. The grief felt by so many is felt around this surfing work of ours. Much love to my #BarbadosFamily. #GoneTooSoon #ZanderVenezia •For those who don't know, Zander passed away while surfing today after catching what he said was the best wave of his life. He was knocked unconscious when he hit his head on the reef, possibly braking his neck and taking a long hold down for a number of waves. Friends and fellow surfers aided in a rescue attempt but his injuries were greater than could be addressed making him the first victim, by default, of #HurricaneIrma.
For those who don’t know, Zander passed away while surfing today after catching what he said was the best wave of his life.
He was knocked unconscious when he hit his head on the reef, possibly breaking his neck and taking a long hold down for a number of waves.
Friends and fellow surfers aided in a rescue attempt but his injuries were greater than could be addressed making him the first victim, by default, of Hurricane Irma.
I have been sitting for hours in utter shock and disbelief of the passing of @zandervenezia in big surf in Barbados today! In the short time I knew you it was easy to feel like I have known you a lifetime! You made everyone laugh and smile around you and will be terribly missed! I will see you again soon my friend!! RIP @zandervenezia . . #surf #livelikezander #surfing #surfer #beach #beachlife #surflife #nsb #nsbinlet #nsbeachlife #newsmyrnabeach #florida #floridalife #floridasaltlife #barbados #ocean #waves #eastcoast
Tributes have been pouring in online from the surfing community.
Our thoughts are with Zander’s friends and family.