Surfing legend Kelly Slater called Kalani David “one of the most talented ever surfer/skaters on earth.”
WASHINGTON — Kalani David, a former world junior surfing champion, died on Saturday after suffering a seizure while surfing off the coast of Costa Rica, according to officials and friends He was 24.
David “was surfing when he apparently suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned,” the Judicial Investigation Agency said in a message to The Associated Press. “The death is still under investigation.”
The Hawaiian-born athlete was an accomplished surfer and skateboarder. His X-Games profile described how he “grew up surfing and skating” and was “one of the generation of young kids who are way better and progress way faster than action sports athletes of only a few years ago.”
According to the Associated Press, David suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital heart disease that caused paralysis and seizures. The illness didn’t stop him from excelling in sports. He won the world junior surfing championship, for 16 and under, in April 2012.
Back in June, David shared in a Instagram post that his neurologist had warned against driving and surfing until he stops having seizures.
“I mean I could surf but, if I was to have one and don’t get saved in time I’ll either die or become a vegetable because I don’t have enough air to my brain. I keep getting lucky, I had a seizure driving and the other in the water within a couple months,” he wrote.
David went on to add that he had initially put the health issues to the side “but doing that has made it worse. My life has completely changed and it’s not rejection, it’s redirection.”
Surfing legend Kelly Slater wrote on his Instagram story that “Kalani was one of the most talented ever surfer/skaters on earth” and that he was “constantly pushing the limits every time he was on his feet.”