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US retiree dies in Guanacaste surfing accident after wave knocks him into rock

A U.S. retiree died in a surfing accident on Costa Rica’s northwestern Pacific coast on Friday morning. Randy Giambalvo, 61, was surfing at Playa Avellanas in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, when he struck his head on a rock and died.

The Santa Cruz Red Cross found Giambalvo unresponsive, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to the daily La Nación. Witnesses said Giambalvo had been surfing all morning when a large wave tossed him into a rocky area of the beach. Neighbors reportedly pulled Giambalvo from the ocean, but the rescue efforts could not save the retired surfer.

La Nación noted that this is the second accidental death in Santa Cruz in the past five days. A female Costa Rican tourist drowned in an undertow on Monday. Officials warned beachgoers to take precaution due to the dangerous swimming conditions persisting at the beach.

Giambalvo moved from Rhode Island to Costa Rica with his wife Susie. According to La Nación, the couple moved here three months ago.

On Randy Giambalvo’s Facebook page, many friends expressed condolences — recalling Giambalvo as an inspirational friend and an enthusiastic surfer.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have any additional information to contribute, please contact The Tico Times at

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