Katherine Diaz, an Olympic surfing hopeful from El Salvador, died this past weekend after being struck by lightning while training. She was 22 years old. Her uncle, Beto Diaz, told the El Salvadorian media that he was with his niece when she was practicing at the beach. Katherine Diaz met a friend who was also surfing. As they were talking, Diaz was struck by lightning and the friend was thrown backward.
"Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport," the International Surfing Association said in a statement. "She excelled at the international competition level, representing her country with pride at both the ISA World Surfing Games and ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. We send our heartfelt condolences to Katherine's family, the surfers of El Salvador, and to all those in the international surfing community whose lives she touched."
Diaz was expected to take part in the ISA World Surf Games in May to get ready for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Olympics are welcoming surfing as a sport for the first time this year. Here's a look at fans mourning the loss of Diaz.
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This is the ISA paying tribute to Diaz. One fan wrote: "God Bless you Katherine, May you Rest In Peace till our Loving Savior Jesus Returns to come and take you home, Praying for your loving family as well Katherine. God Bless us all."prevnext
So sad to share the news of Salvadoran surfer, Katherine Diaz’s, @katherinecook7, passing. She was one of El Salvador’s most popular surf athletes with large recognition for popularizing women’s surfing in El Salvador... pic.twitter.com/MKHPmvCNgY— Central American Art (@CentAm_Beauty) March 20, 2021
Diaz was well-beloved in the El Salvador community and the surfing world. The tweet also states that Diaz's "surfing legacy started when she was a child in her home in La Libertad, where she would compete in local surf competitions & started gaining recognition by winning competitions & later becoming the first woman in El Salvador's national surf team to go on to represent."prevnext
It is with a heavy heart that the ISA has learned about the passing of El Salvador’s Katherine Diaz. pic.twitter.com/7SQCEHPpu3— ISA (@ISAsurfing) March 21, 2021
There are some people that are just learning about Diaz. One fan wrote: "Thanks for sharing to us all the unknown. I didn't know Katherine Diaz but a 22y person dying is a tragedy for everyone, especially the old (me 80) who have no more duties than watch over the younger ones. My thoughts to you all."prevnext
A surfer who hoped to make this year's Olympics has been killed by lightning as she entered the water https://t.co/27ntI5VPOY— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 22, 2021
What's sad for fans is Diaz won't be able to compete in the Olympics. One fan stated: "Damn what a tragedy and so sad. Robbed of her life most importantly and also her dreams of surfing in the Olympics later this year. My hearts and prayers to all Katherine Diaz's family, friends and loved ones."prevnext
Many fans sent messages to Diaz after learning the news. One person wrote on the ISA's Twitter page: "To the family, friends, and fans of Katherine, deepest sympathies for your loss from the Central Coast of California. Katherine's love and inspirational spirit will live on in hearts and will always be part you."prevnext
#NacionalesMarch 22, 2021
➡️Surfistas ecuatorianos rindieron homenaje a la vida de la salvadoreña Katherine Diaz
Here's a look at surfers paying tribute to Diaz. Another fan wrote on the ISA's Twitter page: "She was truly an inspiration to women everywhere!! Such a sad, tragic loss. She'll be missed, dearly. So sad."prevnext
Salvadoran surfer Katherine Diaz killed by lightning while training for Olympics https://t.co/vMqzxv4T3J— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 22, 2021
The fact that Diaz was 22 years old is what really got to fans. One person wrote: "So young, so unfair, so tragic, RIP Angel. Another person added: "Our condolences to the family and team."prev