Barbados Junior Pro Passes Away After Neck Injury from Heavy Surf

Zander Venezia, 16, dies in hospital after suffering broken neck

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Barbados junior pro Zander Venezia, one of the Caribbean’s most talented young surfers, after he suffered a broken neck on shallow reef during a heavy session on the east coast of the island. He was 16 years old.

Venezia was reportedly back at home through the weekend looking to score the swell generated throughout the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma. During a session at a shallow break east of his hometown of Bridgetown, Venezia wiped out and was spotted by Nathan Florence, among others, who rushed to drag him out of the impact zone and onto shore. CPR was performed on the beach as a emergency medical team arrived on the scene. At the hospital, doctors discovered that Venezia’s neck was broken. He passed away from complications related to the injury on Tuesday afternoon.

The tall, lean goofyfoot began to make his name on the competitive circuit at just 11 years old, when he became the U-12 National Champion. He took the Open Juniors division in the NSSA East Coast Regional Championships this April. Recently, he won the Rip Curl Gromsearch 16-U division at Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina, and was set to compete at the national final at Steamer Lane in October.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Venezia family and the Barbados surf community.