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California boy, 14, dies of heart attack while paddle-boarding in ‘his favorite spot in the whole world’

 August 18, 2023

A 14-year-old boy from California tragically passed away while paddleboarding in Minnesota due to a previously unknown heart condition.

This devastating event unfolded during a cherished family vacation. Stanley Wilson of Encinitas, California was with his family at Cross Lake when the tragedy struck, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Details of the tragic incident

Wilson was reportedly enjoying his time at Cross Lake when the sad situation began to unfold.

Unfortunately, while paddleboarding, he suffered a suspected cardiac arrest. This led him to fall into the water, where he remained submerged for approximately three to four minutes.

His father, Eric Wilson, recounted the harrowing moments on Facebook.

He mentioned how they managed to pull Stanley out of the water after those agonizing minutes and desperately tried to resuscitate him. Despite their best efforts, the young man could not be revived.

Stanley's favorite spot

The lake held a special place in Stanley's heart. Eric Wilson referred to it as his son's "favorite spot in the whole world."

The coroner later informed the family that Stanley had a hereditary, undiagnosed heart condition. This condition likely triggered the cardiac arrest while he was on the paddleboard.

Stanley and his family were vacationing at Pine Terrace Resort when this tragic incident took place on Aug. 9.

The young boy was known for his leadership qualities, especially as a former captain of his soccer team.

Community remembers Stanley

The Cardiff Soccer League, in which Stanley played, remembered him fondly. They mentioned how he "embodied what it was to be a good teammate and leader."

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family with funeral expenses. The page highlighted Stanley's adventurous spirit, kindness, determination, and love for his friends and family. The fundraising appeal read:

During his fourteen years, he touched many lives with his sense of adventure, his kindness, his determination to be good at what he loved and his love of his friends and family.

On Wednesday night, a memorial was held at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

Hundreds gathered to honor and commemorate Stanley's life. His father, Eric, shared how much Stanley loved the lake and fishing.  He said:

If he could go anywhere in the world, it would have been that spot.

Memories of a joyful young soul

The memorial was a testament to the impact Stanley had on those around him. Friends and family remembered him as an outgoing and fun kid with a contagious smile.

One friend mentioned:

Once you got to know him, he was really outgoing and a fun kid, he'd always make you laugh he had a really contagious smile.

The evening was filled with shared memories of Stanley. Attendees walked down to the shore with candles, released lanterns with heartfelt messages into the sky, and tossed flowers into the ocean, paying their respects to the young boy who left them too soon.


  • Stanley Wilson, 14, tragically passed away in Minnesota.
  • The incident occurred while he was paddleboarding in his favorite lake.
  • He had an undiagnosed hereditary heart condition.
  • The community remembers him as a leader with a contagious smile.
  • A memorial was held in his honor at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.