Surfers bid Zan­der farewell

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Tribute - By HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON

THE SURF­ING COM­MU­NITY came out en masse to bid farewell to pro ju­nior surfer Zan­der Venezia yes­ter­day.

On a morn­ing when the over­cast con­di­tions mir­rored the som­bre mood at Co­ral Ridge Memo­rial Gar­dens, thou­sands dressed in their blues and greens cre­ated a hu­man can­vas of seascape colours that spilled into the wings, un­der spe­cially set up tents and onto the drive­way on the out­side.

Even the ties of those from his alma mater, The St Michael School, blended in, as the man Zan­der re­ferred to as “Un­cle Al”, ex­plained why the 16-year-old was at Box by Box, Cat­tle­wash surf­ing mon­ster waves thrown this way as a re­sult of Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Only a surfer knows

In a packed chapel with stand­ing room only and be­fore an au­di­ence that in­cluded surfers who were at the Box with Zan­der on Septem­ber 5, as well as mem­bers, cur­rent and past pres­i­dents of the Bar­ba­dos Surf­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Sir Charles Wil­liams and cham­pion driver Roger ‘The Sher­iff” Skeete, Alan Burke, a for­mer pro-surfer, ad­mit­ted the ques­tion ‘Why do we surf?’ would even stump surfers them­selves.

“Could it be the chal­lenge with Mother Na­ture? Be­com­ing one with the ocean? The adrenalin? The ex­hil­a­rat­ing feel­ing of go­ing across a wave? The un­pre­dictable and pre­dictable out­come? The fear one con­quers es­pe­cially in surf of con­se­quence? The sense of ac­com­plish­ment when per­form­ing in a surf com­pe­ti­tion en­vi­ron­ment? Or could it just be the in­clu­sion of be­ing a part of a world­wide fam­ily, also known as a surf com­mu­nity?” Burke asked.

“What­ever it is, there is an old say­ing – only a surfer knows the feel­ing,” he said.

Burke went on to de­scribe Zan­der as an “ex­cel­lent skate­boarder, a lit­tle dare­devil” who found plea­sure not only in go-kart rac­ing but in “surf­ing Soup Bowl on the big­gest days”.

Quirky, fun-lov­ing

“At only 16 years old, he quickly be­came a com­pe­tent and an ac­com­plished big wave surfer, gain­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence by chalk­ing up count­less hours in the line-up with a se­lect few over the past few years,” Burke said.

He also re­called Zan­der be­ing “a jovial, quirky, fun-lov­ing, re­spect­ful, kind-hearted kid”, adding this was ev­i­dent in the out­pour­ing of sup­port on so­cial me­dia and which oc­ca­sioned the hash­tag #live­likezan­der.

And in a touch­ing mo­ment, Burke re­vealed that a few days ago, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Scholas­tics Surf­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (NSSA) had driven two hours to meet him in Cal­i­for­nia to hand over the con­test jer­sey Zan­der was wear­ing when he won his last com­pe­ti­tion a few weeks ago.

“I brought this for Lou [Zan­der’s fa­ther Louis],” he said af­ter a pause to rec­ol­lect his com­po­sure. “This is the jer­sey he was wear­ing. This is what he lived for, buddy,” he told the el­der Venezia.

Mean­while, Nicky Mar­shall, who de­liv­ered the mes­sage, said peo­ple might ques­tion Zan­der’s death at such a young age.

“I don’t think there are any easy an­swers or ex­pla­na­tions for this. Bad things just hap­pen. They hap­pen to good peo­ple; they hap­pen to 16-year-old kids,” he said.

“I don’t be­lieve that God took Zan­der away from us for some greater pur­pose. I’m not sure there is any mean­ing or ex­pla­na­tion to his death in that sense. I think it is up to us to give his death mean­ing. We do this in all of the won­der­ful mem­o­ries we have of who he was and . . . in the good things we do for the world in his mem­ory,” he said, urg­ing his lis­ten­ers to be en­cour­aged through faith, hope and love.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Zan­der’s sis­ter Is­abella and fam­ily friend Karyn Fakoory read po­ems to his mem­ory.

He will be cre­mated but a pad­dle-out is be­ing or­gan­ised in his hon­our.



That was the pledge from Act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Michael Lash­ley as he spoke to the DAILY NA­TION in the grave­yard of St Cather­ine’s Angli­can Church yes­ter­day evening, where the bod­ies of Kyle Rico “Sad Boy” Burgess and Re­naldo “Co­nan” Git­tens, both 24, were in­terred.

The two cousins were gunned down while lim­ing on the block at Mar­ley Vale, St Philip, with a group of peo­ple on Au­gust 29. It was not far from their East Point homes.

“We have a Royal Bar­ba­dos Po­lice Force that is look­ing af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions and I have full con­fi­dence that they will do what­ever is nec­es­sary, and of course the Fair Trial pro­vi­sions. Once that per­son is given all the ac­cess to a fair trial, then jus­tice will pre­vail,” said Lash­ley, who is also par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the area.

He was echo­ing the call by of­fi­ci­at­ing min­is­ter Rev­erend David Yarde, who urged those who were hurt­ing and griev­ing not to seek re­venge.

“This is not a time for re­venge. Ba­si­cally, most of the mur­ders the po­lice have been able to solve for the past cou­ple of months and years. Once we get full co­op­er­a­tion from the per­sons who al­legedly would have seen the of­fence, I think that there will be no need for any re­venge. St Philip and Mar­ley Vale – we don’t have that char­ac­ter­is­tic ba­si­cally,” Lash­ley stated.

Dur­ing his ser­mon, Yarde said he recog­nised amidst the pain, peo­ple might feel the deaths of the two, whose lives were cut short through gun vi­o­lence, needed to be avenged. He queried whether any real sat­is­fac­tion would be gained from it.

ZAN­DER VENEZIA lost his life at sea on Septem­ber 5 at Cat­tle­wash, St Joseph. (FP) FRIENDS AND FAM­ILY lead­ing the cas­ket of Zan­der Venezia, with a surf board atop it, out of the chapel of Co­ral Ridge Memo­rial Gar­dens yes­ter­day. (Pic­tures by Heather-lynn Ev

STU­DENTS from Zan­der’s alma mater, The St Michael School, lin­ing the en­trance to the chapel.

PALL­BEAR­ERS guid­ing the two cas­kets out of the church. (Pic­tures by Ricardo Lea­cock.)

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