The tragic death of a young athlete has shocked the surfing scene. Kalani David was only 24 years old. He first drew attention to himself at the age of 14 when he became junior world champion in Panama.

Surfing idol Kelly Slater (50) was one of the first to speak up. The 11-time world champion wrote: “Kalani was one of the most talented surfer/skater in the world who pushed his limits every time he got up. Our condolences go out to the vast community of friends Kalani has had from coast to coast and around the globe.”

The accident happened in the waves off Costa Rica. As several US media reported unanimously, David suffered a heart attack in the middle of the water while surfing. Photographer Peter Kind, a friend of the deceased, confirmed to Surfers Mag that David died of a “serious seizure while surfing”. According to the US magazine “TMZ”, the judicial authority in Costa Rica said: “He was surfing when he apparently suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned.”

Six years earlier, David suffered a similar seizure while skating and sustained serious facial injuries.

The doctors diagnosed him with the rare “Wolf-Parkinson White Syndrome”, a congenital heart rhythm disorder that can lead to heart failure and cardiac arrest. After another seizure, David finally had heart surgery.