In tragic news out of the Caribbean, up-and-coming surfer Zander Venezia was killed while surfing a heavy break on the east side of Barbados known as ‘Box by Box,’ just north of Soup Bowls. According to reports, Venezia hit his head on the reef, breaking his neck. Nathan Florence, who’d flown in to surf the sizeable swell created by Hurricane Irma, was the first to reach the young surfer. He started CPR and then helped get Venezia to the beach where he was then taken to the hospital.
“I wasn’t there, but I’m told that Nathan saw Zander get overturned by a wave, got to him, and started to perform CPR,” Alan Burke, a local pro who is now a surf instructor told Surfline. “Zander was bleeding and he wasn’t moving. A bunch of guys tried to get him into the beach, which was very difficult. ‘Box by Box’ is a tough place to get in and out of, even if you have the ability. They finally got him in and performed CPR on the beach. The ambulance came really quick, for coming from the other side of the island, and continued to try and revive him. But when they got him to the hospital, apparently his neck was broken.”
The young, gifted Venezia won the Rip Curl Grom Search in the Outer Banks in mid-August and in April took out the NSSA regional championships.

The news of his death quickly reverberated throughout the industry: “We are heartbroken to report that one of our USA Surfing family has passed away,” posted USA Surfing on Facebook. “Zander Venezia, one of the nicest and most talented kids you have ever met, hit his head on the reef surfing (the) Hurricane Irma swell in Barbados. He and his dad were at all of our Prime events and USA Championionships. He was so gracious and kind and full of gratitude – even for having a jersey that fits. Life is fragile. Tell your kids you love them. I know Zander’s dad, Lou, did before every heat. RIP Zander Venezia. Prayers to his family.”
The Inertia sends sincere condolences to the Venezia family during this extremely difficult time.