A KAYAKER owes his life to the quick reaction of surf life savers at Red Rock, who used an angel ring to pull him to safety at the weekend.
The man, aged in his 50s, who is believed to be a Sandy Beach local, got into trouble at the mouth of Red Rock River after his kayak capsized on a strong runout tide on Saturday just after 9am.
Red Rock Corindi Surf Life Saving Club members, who were on patrol said the man was visibly in trouble as he struggled to stay afloat in the estuary.
"He couldn't cope with the conditions. He had a life jacket on, but the waves were just too much for him," surf club vice president Wayne Scott said.
"After the man was pulled to shore, we thought he had water in his lungs, so we took oxygen over to the beach, called the ambulance and placed him on a defibrillator.
"The man went into shock and we monitored his condition until the ambulance arrived.
"The paramedics checked his blood oxygen, before he was cleared and taken back to his car.
"It serves as a warning for people to watch that runout tide and not to risk it ... it wasn't big swell just fair enough sized waves close to one metre."
Local resident Marilyn Allan, who was instrumental in getting two angel rings installed off Little Beach and the headland, said the lifesaving devices have more than proven their worth to the community.
"The angel rings are fantastic, they have helped to save more than 30 lives," Mrs Allan said.
"Before they were installed there was never anything to throw out to people who got into trouble, sadly I recall people trying to tie towels together to save an American backpacker who lost her life a few years ago."
Recreational Fishing Alliance spokesman Malcolm Poole said the incident served as a warning to anyone swimming or kayaking in Red Rock River.
"It's also blueberry picking season at the moment and the Red Rock community has swelled with the influx of Asian pickers who go for a swim in the afternoon after picking all day - so the message needs to get to out," Mr Poole said.
Three backpackers have lost their lives off Red Rock in recent years.
The beach was a scene of tragedy in November, 2009 when a Korean backpacker working on local blueberry farms drowned at the location.