What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome? Surf champ Kalani David, 24, drowns after suffering seizure in water

Kalani David suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital cardiac disorder that can result in seizures and an accelerated heartbeat

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome? Surf champ Kalani David, 24, drowns after suffering seizure in water
According to Kalani David's X-Games profile, he grew up skating and surfing and could be regarded as an experienced veteran at the age of 14 (kalanidavid/Instagram)
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COSTA RICA: Former world junior surfing champion Kalani David of Hawaii, died on Saturday, September 17 in Costa Rica after having a seizure in the ocean, as confirmed by the Judicial Investigation Department of Costa Rica.

David, 24, suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital cardiac disorder that can result in seizures and an accelerated heartbeat. The skateboarder and surfer underwent heart surgery six years ago. “He was surfing when he apparently suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned,” Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department told the Associated Press. “The death is still under investigation.” At the 2012 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama, David took home the gold medal. Also, according to his X-Games profile, he grew up skating and surfing and could be regarded as an experienced veteran at the age of 14. 

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Over the years, David was transparent about his struggles with seizures. Prior to the surgery, David said in a 2016 interview with Stab magazine, “If it was life or death, and I had to choose skating or surfing, I’d choose death.” It wasn't the first time he was struck by a seizure while surfing or skating. Narrating one of his previous incidents on Instagram, David wrote, “I was skating with @max_jenson @tonechapo @travisrivera and all of a sudden I went into a seizure, fell on my face and woke up in an ambulance also my heart stopped. I had 3 seizures after that when I got to the hospital. So grateful to be alive!”

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David’s younger brother, Keoni, reportedly shared the following message on his Instagram story, “You are the best brother I could ever ask for. I will miss you Kalani.”

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According to reports, Kelly Slater, a legendary surfer, posted a picture of David on his Instagram account, where he paid respect to the late surfer by commenting, "@KalaniDavid attempting my board as a youngster." “Kalani was one of the most talented surfer/skaters on Earth,” Slater wrote. “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.”

One of the photographers, Peter King, who clicked a lot of pictures of Kalani was quick to share his thoughts on the accident. "Oh man. Love you Kalani. Only God knows His timing. Life isn't easy. Always battling. Always Learning. Heartbreaking News. Kalani passed away in Costa Rica today, he had a massive seizure while surfing. He had re-connected with family there and was having such a great time. I'll always remember your stoke when we'd shoot skate n surf and how much hope you had for your future. God Bless the family and extended family that were always there for you."

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