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Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater lead tributes for surfer who died after ‘massive seizure’ in water

Max Sherry

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| Last updated 

Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater lead tributes for surfer who died after ‘massive seizure’ in water

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/kalanidavid

The surfing world is in mourning following the death of promising young star Kalani David.

David, widely regarded as one of the most promising surfers on the circuit, lost his life after suffering from a 'massive seizure' while he was in the water.

His tragic passing has sent shockwaves around the surfing community with a bunch of big-name stars leading the chorus of touching tributes.

David was just 24 years of age.

“Oh man. Love you Kalani. Only God knows His timing. Life isn’t easy. Always battling. Always Learning. Heartbreaking News,” David's good friend and extreme sports photographer Peter King said via Instagram.

“Kalani passed away in Costa Rica today. 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 (and) surf and how much hope you had for your future.

“God bless the family and extended family that were always there for you.”

Fans flocked to social media to send their condolences to David's friends and family.

A number of surfing's biggest stars also paid their respects, sharing fond memories of their time with the Hawaiian.

“Far out that’s heartbreaking,” Aussie legend Mick Fanning commented.

“He was a great kid. That’s really sad. I remember him coming round to our Red Bull house in Hawaii as a 12-year-old and I was cooking a barbecue.

“Gave him some food and he automatically did the dishes without having to ask, but was classic at that age.

“He’d come check in most nights to see what was on for dinner, hoping it was another barbecue - haha always enjoyed chatting to him.”

Meanwhile, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater added: “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.”


Unfortunately, seizures is something David was all too familiar with, having had a history of them throughout his life.

Back in 2016, he had suffered a serious seizure during a skateboarding session which left him in hospital.

“All of a sudden I went into a seizure, fell on my face and woke up in an ambulance also my heart stopped,” he said on Instagram after recovering.

“I had three seizures after that when I got to the hospital. So grateful to be alive.”

Now, just a few years on and he has suffered a seizure while in the ocean.

Such sad, sad news.

Rest In Peace, Kalani.

Topics: Australia, Surfing

Max Sherry
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