kalani-david-getty.png
Getty Images

Professional surfer and skateboarder Kalani David died Saturday after having a medical emergency in the water. The 24-year-old was surfing at Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica.

David, born and raised in Hawaii, suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, which caused him to have a seizure and drown. Mayo Clinic describes WPW as "a condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart that leads to periods of rapid heart rate (tachycardia)."

With a very heavy heart the surfing world lost a very talented, very young surfer. Kalani David was indeed a child...

Posted by Freesurf Magazine on Saturday, September 17, 2022

Photographer, and close friend, Peter King shared a post on Instagram not too long after the incident.

"Oh man. Love you Kalani. Only God knows His timing. Life isn't easy," King wrote. "Always battling. Always Learning. Heartbreaking News....I'll always remember your stoke when we'd shoot skate n surf and how much hope you had for you future. God Bless the family and extended family that were always there for you."

David's brother, Keoni, also shared his thoughts on an Instagram story. 

"You are the best brother I could ever ask for. I will miss you Kalani," he said.

David had been a standout in surfing since he was young. At the age of 14 in 2012, he earned the gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama.

Even though his medical issue forced him to take breaks through his athletic career, David always continued pushing forward. In 2016, he had a seizure at a California skate park and said that he was "grateful to be alive." 

Kelly Slater, an 11-time World Surf League champion, sent his condolences and described David as "one of the most talented surfers/skaters in the world." 

"He was constantly pushing his limits," Slater said in an Instagram story. "My condolences to the great family and friends that Kalani had on every beach around the world."

David's mother, Andrea, launched a GoFundMe to help get his body to Florida so he can be buried next to his grandfather.