Surfers in El Salvador are planning to hold a “paddle out” Tuesday to remember Katherine Díaz Hernández, one of the country’s top surfers who was killed last week by a lightning bolt while surfing.
The 22-year-old was training Friday at El Tunco beach when people on shore saw her get hit by lightning. They brought her ashore but could not revive her.
Díaz Hernández started surfing at the age of nine, and was also well known in El Tunco for her skills as a chef.
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Surfing is set to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games this summer, and Díaz was slated to participate in the ISA World Surf Games in May, which will serve as the Olympics qualifiers.
Yamil Bukele, the president of the Salvadoran Sports Institute, wrote that “I greatly regret this death, and I join in the family's pain.”
The International Surfing Association also issued a statement about her death.
"Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport. She excelled at the int'l competition level, representing her country with pride at both the World Surfing Games and ISA World Jr Surfing Championship," the tweeted statement said.
"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. We will never forget you."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.