A KAYAKER at the centre of an ocean rescue off the coast of Coffs Harbour told police he was happy to see their vessel on the horizon as his kayak was close to sinking.
Gold Coast man Stuart Cleary, 38, set out from Ballina last night attempting to be the first person to paddle solo to New Zealand.
Mr Cleary, a short time ago, was safely pulled aboard the Coffs Harbour Water Police vessel, which is now headed back to port.
Water Police Sergeant Don Stewart said Mr Cleary was "fine, healthy and in good spirits."
"When we reached him he was still sitting in the kayak, but it was partially submerged," Srgt. Stewart said.
"He said he was happy to see us. We are now on the way back to Coffs Harbour.
This morning Mr Cleary reportedly phoned his wife to say he was aborting the journey and would paddle back to land, but his kayak started to take on water and sink, authorities were told.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received the distress signal and the Lismore-based Westpac Rescue Lifesaver Helicopter was tasked to his location just before 3pm, but later called off with the police vessel reaching the location first after a three hour voyage.
3.15PM: A KAYAKER, more than 80 kilometres off the coastline of Coffs Harbour, has reportedly activated a distress beacon amid fears his vessel has started to take on water and sink.
An emergency response has been initiated this afternoon.
The Lismore-based Westpac Rescue Lifesaver Helicopter was tasked to the location just before 3pm.
"It is reported that he is some 45 nautical miles off the coast of Coffs Harbour and his kayak has started to sink," a spokesman for the service said.
More details will be released when they come to hand.