Surfing champion and prolific skater Kalani David died while surfing in Costa Rica last weekend at the age of 24 years old.
It’s suspected that David died after suffering a seizure and drowning. A statement from Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Agency speculated that “He was surfing when he apparently suffered some type of epileptic seizure and drowned.”
David suffered from a rare congenital heart disease called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 18.
Gone too soon
David underwent open-heart surgery in 2016 after sustaining a six-hour seizure. Tragically, that surgery didn’t cure him, and now the surfing world has lost a legend.
David had recently revealed his condition to followers in June. In a post on his social media, David explained that “With these seizures I keep having my neurologist said no driving and no surfing until I stop having them. 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.”
The heart condition David suffered from caused rapid heartbeats, paralysis, and seizures, the last of which ultimately caused his death.
As a young surfer, David won the Junior World Surfing championship in 2012.
Unfortunately, David was never able to reach his potential as a Surfer because of his heart condition. David once commented that “If it was life or death, and I had to choose skating or surfing, I’d choose death.”
Outpouring of support
Filmmaker Peter King reacted to David’s passing in an Instagram post saying, “Love you Kalani. Only God knows His timing. Life isn’t easy. Always battling. Always learning. Heartbreaking news. Kalani passed away in Costa Rica (Saturday), he had a massive seizure while surfing. He had reconnected with family there and was having such a great time. I’ll always remember your stoke when we’d shoot skate n surf and how much hope you had for (your) future. God bless the family and extended family that were always there for you.”
World Champion Surfer Kelly Slater reacted to David’s passing saying, “Kalani was one of the most talented ever surfer/skaters on Earth, constantly pushing the limits every time he was on his feet….Condolences to the huge community of friends Kalani had coast to coast and across the globe.”
Both the surfing and skating communities came together to celebrate Kalani’s legacy and offer support for his family.