TWO teenagers selflessly put their own lives at risk when they attempted to rescue a stricken surfer about 6pm at Flynns Beach yesterday.
The 29-year-old tourist died when frantic attempts to rescue and resuscitate him failed.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council lifeguards finished their shift at the popular beach about two hours earlier.
Incredibly, first on the scene were the two teenage surfers.
Port News spoke to one boy's fathers after the incident.
He was proud of his son's rescue attempts to try and save the deceased man.
"We are so proud of both of them," he said. "They were thrust into this situation and they did the best they could to save this poor man."
The father said his son and his friend did what they could to keep the man afloat before help arrived in the form of Port Macquarie Surf School teacher Wayne Hudson, and Port Macquarie Surf Club member, Chris Turnham.
Hudson was packing up for the day when he and Turnham heard the screams coming from the beach.
Turnham entered the water from the rocks after surveying the risks associated with a possible rescue.
He managed to assist the teenager by making sure the man in trouble had his head above water.
As Turnham attempted to make his way back to shore, Hudson arrived with a board to add further assistance to the effort.
"I tried to swim out to the guy but the current was super strong," Wayne said.
"There was another bloke on a board so I told him to go out to the guy and I ran up to the rocks near where he was."
During the commotion Hudson ordered bystanders to call the ambulance and gather a first aid kit.
The strong current and swell made the rescue difficult with all involved putting their own lives in danger.
"I was washed back onto the rocks a few times," Hudson said.
"It was so bad (the conditions), we couldn't keep him on the board and eventually it (the board) washed away so we just held him up and swam back in with him."
On the way into the beach the board reappeared beside the rescuers, they were then able to use it to make their way in.
"By the time we got to the beach the ambos were there," Hudson said."It was good timing, they couldn't have gotten there any quicker."