A former junior surfing champion who had battled for years with seizures as part of a rare health syndrome died in Costa Rica on Saturday while on the water.
Kalani David Feeney Barrientos, who competed under his first two names, suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a congenital heart condition that can cause paralysis and seizures.
David, who was 24, died in Jaco on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the country’s Judicial Investigation Agency said, according to a Spanish-language report by the Associated Press.
“He was surfing when he apparently suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned. The death is still under investigation,” the agency said, according to a Google translation of the report.
David was born in Hawaii to a Costa Rican mother, the AP reported. In 2012 he won the World Junior Surfing Championship in the U16 category.
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Health problems dogged him. According to Men’s Journal, he underwent open-heart surgery when he was 19 after suffering a six-hour seizure.
Rest in Piece Kalani. Always a pleasure to be around❤️💔😔 One of the most talented multisport athletes in the world with a heart of gold! You are one of a kind and will be greatly missed by so many, give my regards to the boys. Aloha Kalani David 🙏❤️🤙 pic.twitter.com/nbnxoDudkK
— Ryan Rawson (@NSB808) September 18, 2022
The surfer opened up about his condition on Instagram in June.
“With these seizures, I keep having my neurologist say no driving and no surfing until I stop having them. I mean I could surf but if I do have one and I’m not rescued in time I’ll either die or become a veg because I don’t have enough air for my brain,” he wrote.
“I had one seizure while driving and the other in the water within a couple of months. For the past few years I’ve had sleep attacks and only angels watching over me because I’ve always been so lucky and lived through everything. Time to get these things straight so I can move on in life, at least I can skate and fish!”
David said he “put those health issues aside because I couldn’t believe it, but that made it worse.”
He ended the post by writing, “Thrilled to be alive and well. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you have and making the most of it.”
Kalani David died while surfing in Costa Rica.
Hawaiian skater-surfer, 24, left us after suffering a seizure. The talented board athlete battled Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome.
We send our condolences to the family and friends of Kalani David. 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/kH0yPXcwI6
– SurferToday.com (@surfertoday) September 18, 2022
Photographer Peter King posted a tribute to David on Instagram.
“Oh man. I love you Kalani. Only God knows His timing. Life isn’t easy. Always fighting. Always learning. Heartbreaking news,” he wrote.
https://www.westernjournal.com/24-year-old-dead-suffering-seizure-surfing-god-knows-timing/ ‘Only God Knows His Timing’