A 16-year-old boy has died surfing the huge swell in Barbados caused by Hurricane Irma.

Zander Venezia, a highly-touted surfing prospect, had taken to the waves of the island’s Box to Box break on Tuesday when a close out wave reportedly knocked him to the region’s rocky bottom.

After spotting Venezia’s board on the surface, fellow surfer Nathan Florence found Venezia unconscious under the waves.

Surf instructor Alan Burke told Surfcide that Florence and accomplices were able to take Venezia’s bleeding body out of the water, and administered CPR on the beach.

He was rushed to hospital. Burke reports Venezia was breathing at one point, but remained unresponsive. Venezia was pronounced dead some time after, while surrounded by friends and family.

Since his death, tributes have emerged from the island community and the broader surfing landscape.

@zandervenezia sharing his love for surfing with kids with special needs. Such a beautiful moment in time!

A post shared by Christian Boos (@learntosurfbarbados) on

A talented athlete, Venezia had recently won first prize in his division at the Rip Curl Grom Search in North Carolina.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, has caused immense damage across the Caribbean. It’s expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday, local time.

Source: People
Image: @learntosurfbarbados / Instagram