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Pro Surfer Kalani David’s Body Remains in Costa Rica Due to Family Legal Dispute

A legal dispute between Kalani David’s mother and father has resulted in the pro surfer’s body being held in legal limbo while a Costa Rica court decides who will take possession of his remains.

The surf/skate prodigy drowned on September 17 at Playa Hermosa, Jaco after suffering a seizure while surfing. Kalani had a congenital heart condition, Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.

Kalini’s legal name was Kalani David Feeny Barrientos and he was born in Costa Rica. His mother is Costa Rican and his father is from the United States.

Kalani grew up with is father in Hawaii. According to court filings, his mother asserts he had become estranged from his father and was in Costa Rica reestablishing his relationship with his family here.

A court had initially granted his father the right to retrieve his body, but his mother appealed that ruling.

His mother claims that it was Kalini’s wish, in the event if his death, for his body to be sent back to Hawaii for a traditional burial. That entails his ashes being spread at sea as friends and loved ones paddle out into the surf while wearing necklaces of local flowers. She also asserts Kalani’s father intended to have his son buried in Miami.

There will be a hearing to decide how to resolve the dispute between the parents. A tragic twist to a tragic event. Hopefully the hearing will be soon and Kalani will finally be able to rest in peace.

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