Pro surfer Zander Venezia, 16, of Bridgetown, Barbados caught Hurricane Irma’s monster waves on Tuesday with fellow pro surfers, who flew out to the island to join him. However, as the waves from the Category 5 storm came in, Venezia got caught in a set, ending up being driven into the shallow reef off the coast of the Caribbean island.

Alan Burke, a former pro and local surf instructor, told Surfline Venezia was knocked unconscious when he hit the reef and drowned. Burke said he wasn’t there when it happened, but is a close friend of the family and that Zander was like a son to him. He went on to say he feels empty and that they are all in a “shambles” right now.

Fellow surfers try to revive pro surfer in the water

According to Burke, Nathan Florence, a fellow pro surfer, reached Venezia first and began performing CPR while still out in the water. However, he said the teen surfer was bleeding and was not moving. Burke said Florence and Venezia were in an area with plenty of rocks, which has been dubbed Box by Box and is hard to get out of in a hurry.

Paramedics and fellow surfers perform nonstop CPR

During the 75 minutes it took to get Venezia to the hospital, Florence and Dylan Graves, a fellow surfer, helped paramedics to perform “nonstop CPR.” However, as reported by the New York Post, despite breathing a little on his own, the young surfer remained unresponsive.

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While an autopsy is still to be run, it is believed he may have broken his neck in the incident.

Graves posted an image of Venezia on his board to Instagram on Wednesday to say he is still in shock. He said he hadn’t known Venezia long but that he seemed like a nice kid. He went on to say how impressed he was with Venezia’s last session and passed his condolences to the family. Graves went on to thank everyone who was involved in the rescue effort, saying conditions had been “extremely challenging.”

Burke told Surfline that Graves was the last person who spoke to Venezia before his accident and that the youngster had told him he had just got the best wave of his life. However, the next thing to happen was the closeout set that led to Venezia’s death.

Olympic aspirations and promising future dashed by monster Hurricane Irma wave

Venezia had hoped to compete in the 2020 Olympics and had last month won first place in Nags Head, NC in the Rip Curl Grom Search. According to Burke, he was a great and funny kid who was a joy to be around and loved surfing. He still can’t believe Zander is gone, adding that they are all “a mess” right now following his death.