Today, El Salvador mourns the loss of one of their most popular surfers. Katherine Diaz was killed by lightning as she entered the water Friday.
The 22-year-old died after she was struck by lightning just after she entered the ocean at El Tunco Beach, around 10 miles (16km) south of the capital San Salvador.
She was getting ready for the ISA (International Surfing Association) World Surf Games, which will be held in El Salvador in May. The surfing event is one of the qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics, which will be the first Olympic Games to include surfing.
“Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special and dear to us all, as a global ambassador of the sport,” the ISA tweeted about Diaz’s passing.
“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 ISA added: “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.”
Diaz singlehandedly made women’s surfing one of the most popular sports in the country.
She was buried in El Salvador on Sunday.