Police are continuing their search for 23-year-old surfer Chris Drake, who was swept away by a wave at North Curl Curl on Saturday, with police divers to join the search from 10am.
His mother, Nicolle Drake, said on social media her son had been trying to help a young girl struggling in the water when he was overwhelmed by a wave.
“Our lives will never be the same,” she wrote.
“He was a hero and will always be our hero. We will love you forever and never forget you our precious son, brother and mighty warrior.”
Mr Drake worked for his family business, Solid Racks, with his parents, with the company selling storage for surfboards and other sporting gear.
Mr Drake has been described by friends as a popular, kind-hearted and positive high-achiever.
They wrote messages on their social media pages including: “Chris, you are my hero and I am missing you so much”; “One of the most real, stoked and charismatic people I have had the honour of knowing. Rest In Peace Chris Drake. You are Loved by all mate”; and “Smile like Drake”.
He was four years into his Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Counselling and Behavioural Science degree at Notre Dame University, listing studying among his interests along with travelling, surfing and mountain biking.
He was one of two people who died in the treacherous conditions on the weekend, with a 23-year-old man who jumped off a blowhole at Warriewood thrown against the rocks and unable to swim back to shore.