Stab Magazine | Zander Venezia Got This Barrel Before His Tragic Death

Zander Venezia Got This Barrel Before His Tragic Death

The photo and story of the 16-year old Barbados local’s last wave

Words by stab


There’s an old saying: “Death is as near to the young as to the old; here is all the difference: death stands behind the young man’s back, before the old man’s face.” Following the sudden and as-of-yet unexplained death of 16-year-old Zander Venezia, the Barbados community is feeling death all around.

With swell from Hurricane Irma quickly filling in on Barbados’ east coast, Venezia paddled out this morning at an undisclosed reef, alongside a host of locals and longtime friends, as well as Nathan Florence, Dylan Graves, and Balaram Stack, who had flown in for the swell with photographers Daniel Russo and Jimmy Wilson.

According to Wilson, after catching a handful of beautiful waves throughout the morning, Venezia’s board was spotted floating inside of everyone, his limp body underwater being hammered by the building surf. Nathan Florence was the first to reach him, and began administering CPR.

“Nathan and Balaram were the first to get to him,” Wilson said. “His board was tombstoning, he was underwater. I got a photo of his last wave[see above]. But he made that wave. Didn’t fall. I think it might have happened on his way in. We’re not really sure what happened, other than he told someone he was going in.”

Surfers clamored to safely bring him to shore, a daunting task at the notoriously treacherous reefbreak the crew had been surfing. Once on the beach, Florence and a fleet of heroic locals desperately tried to resuscitate the 16-year-old, performing CPR until medics arrived on the scene. Venezia was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon, from complications of a broken neck, though details are still forthcoming. 


Lauded as one of Barbados’ up and coming stars, Venezia was still reeling from a big win just two weeks ago, at the Rip Curl Grom Search in North Carolina.

“You had such an amazing session today,” Saint Augustine’s Asher Nolan, who witness the session this morning, posted to Instagram. “Surfed for 4 hours. You were humble, respectful, full of positive energy that every kid should look up to and live the way you did. Gone too soon. My heart is heavy. The Venezias always treated me like family and it hurts that they have to go through losing someone so special.”

Our hearts go out to Zander’s parents, Lisa and Louis Venezia, his sister, Bella, and to the Barbados surfing community at large. 




Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

“He Looks Like The Only Guy With A Spoon At A Soup Party”

We had a writer from outside surfing watch and review her first contest: the WSL…

Sep 19, 2021

Is Gabby Giving The 2022 CT A Miss?

The 3x World Champ is thinking about a gap year.

Sep 19, 2021


Watch: “If I was Goofy” With John John Florence

Haleiwa becomes a divine left.

Sep 18, 2021

A Critical View Of The WSL Finals’ Key Moments

Images and observations from the beach at Lowers.

Sep 18, 2021


Which Four Boards Would You Keep From Mason Ho’s Electric Acid Quiver?

Choosing from an assortment of contours, outlines, and colors.

Sep 17, 2021

Stab Podcast: An Event We Passionately Debated For The Past 12 Months

Feedback from the WSL Finals, slaps of justice, and a Russian SUP parade.

Sep 17, 2021


Joyride Board Test: The LSD Hammer

Amateur surfer rides Noa Deane's prized step-up at Kirra and The Box.

Sep 17, 2021


Red Bull No Contest, Mexico: A Surfer’s Guide To Scoring Like A Local In Southern Mexico

Inside Barra de la Cruz culture with Mateus Herdy and Rio Waida.

Sep 16, 2021

Fourteen World Titles Worth Of Wisdom, Unpacked

What we learned from listening closely to Mick and Kelly during the WSL Finals.

Sep 16, 2021


Watch: Jack Robinson Wastes No Parts Of The Buffalo

Five minutes from Western Australia's finest.

Sep 16, 2021

The Connection Between Growing Up Poor And Going On To Win World Titles

“The wealthier a town gets, the fewer really good surfers you’ll find in the water.”

Sep 15, 2021

WSL Finals Review: “I Don’t Condone (Most) Crimes, But A Helicopter And A Giant Magnet Would Make For One Incredible Heist”

Lowers was an absolute shit-show yesterday. A report from the ground.

Sep 15, 2021

Filipe Toledo May Or May Not Be The Ultimate Surfer

Episode 7 is a wrap, find out who's advancing to tomorrow's finale.

Sep 15, 2021

10 Questions With S.U.R.F. Winner Jake ‘Money Making Machine’ Vincent

How did Vinny blow his 10 G’s?

Sep 15, 2021

Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina Are Your 2021 World Champions Of Surfing

As it should be.

Sep 14, 2021

A King Amongst Medinas: Inside Gabriel’s World Title Winning 2021

How a former South Sydney demolition man helped mastermind Gabriel Medina's Title campaign.

Sep 14, 2021

2021 WSL Finals: Live Coverage And Updates

Leave the best comment, win a free surfboard.

Sep 14, 2021

The Best WSL Event You Never Heard Of

No electricity. No running water. No wifi and no pins dropped. The Namakwa Challenge was…

Sep 14, 2021