A MAN pulled from the surf on Coffs Harbour's Jetty Beach died despite attempts to revive him.
The man, aged in his 40s, had been surfing with his two teenage sons when he lost consciousness suffering cardiac arrest just after 11am.
Police said the boys noticed their father floating and went to his aid.
Amber Kaluva, who was running along a walkway above the beach at the time, noticed the boys were in distress and reacted.
"I heard the commotion and just ran down onto the beach to help," Amber said.
She helped the boys pull their father onto his surfboard.
Seconds later visiting Gold Coast lifeguard Milton Brunton responded.
Milton, who is travelling between Sydney and Surfers Paradise on a charity jetski ride, had just pulled into the Coffs Harbour boat ramp where he was met by Coffs Harbour-based Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association secretary John Andrews.
"Milton responded on his ski after a bystander ran over and told us about the rescue," John said.
"By that stage Amber was in the water fully clothed and was helping one of the boys to hold the man on his surfboard.
"Milton effected the rescue by dragging the unconscious man onto the ski and transferred him to the beach.
"We then commenced rescuscitation until paramedics arrived and placed the man on a defibrillator.
Paramedics attempted to revive the man on the beach and inside an ambulance, but he died before reaching Coffs Harbour Base Hospital, ambulance media said.
Police and emergency services praised the rescue efforts of the boys and counselling has been offered to the family.
"As a bystander at the scene I believe that had it not been for the fact Amber was running past the beach at the time and that Milton was nearby at the boat ramp, then there would have been the need for an ocean search to find a missing person," John said.
"Everything that could have been done for this gentlemen was done . . . it was just such a tragedy," he said.