24-year-old prodigy Kalani David suffers a fatal seizure while surfing


Damien Poullenot/Getty Images

Kalani David, a rising star in the world of surfing and skateboarding, died Saturday in Costa Rica after suffering a seizure while surfing the waves. He was 24 years old.

The news was first reported by The Inertia. This was apparently confirmed by David’s younger brother, Keoni, who posted on his Instagram Story, “You are the best brother I could ask for. I will miss you Kalani.

Born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, David was born with a surfboard in one hand and a skateboard in the other, and by age 14 he was already considered “a seasoned veteran,” as the says his X-Games biography. . In 2012, he earned one of the first of his many major accolades, winning a gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama.

The 24-year-old also suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital heart condition in which those affected are born with extra muscle on the organ that can cause a dangerously rapid heartbeat and seizures. Seizures, while not always fatal, often involve loss of consciousness, which can be especially dangerous in the ocean.

David suffered his first seizure in August 2016 while skating with friends at a park in Oceanside, California. Then 18, he later reported on Instagram that he “fell on my face and woke up in an ambulance.” The episode briefly stopped his heart and triggered three more seizures in the hospital. “So grateful to be alive!” David wrote.

Months later, just before Christmas, David had another seizure in Oahu, Hawaii. The episode happened in the middle of the night, and he later posted on Instagram that he was “lucky to still be alive” after grabbing for about six hours before friends found him. He spent two days in a medically induced coma and had surgery weeks later “to get that extra piece of muscle” over his “burnt” heart, as he put it.

For David, giving up one or the other of his two loves was never an option. “If it was life or death, and I had to choose skateboarding or surfing,” he said Stab magazine in 2016, “I would choose death”.

Tributes to the young phenom poured in after reports of his death began to surface on Saturday. Peter King, surf photographer and filmmaker, was one of the first to commemorate David. “I will always remember your passion when we were shooting skate n surf and how much hope you had for your future [sic],” he wrote.

Mourning the death of David, Freesurfing the magazine called him “indeed a child prodigy” with “literally hundreds, if not thousands of trophies”. The outlet noted in a Facebook post that he “has been following his career for at least 15 years. Maybe since kindergarten?

“Kalani was one of the most talented surfers/skateboarders in the world,” surfing legend Kelly Slater wrote on his Instagram story, “constantly pushing the boundaries every time he stood up.”

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