A SURFER who almost came to grief in yesterday's monster swell on Sydney's Northern Beaches has a keen-eyed 10-year-old to thank for his rescue.
James Grant spotted the distressed surfer from his parents' flat at North Narrabeen about 9am.
The beach was just one of many in NSW closed to swimmers because of wild surf yesterday, with the closures expected to be in place until the end of the week.
Meanwhile most Sydney beaches are closed again today - except for some in the Eastern suburbs. Read which ones here and check out pictures of New Year revellers sleeping off their hangovers on the sand.
James sprinted 350m to alert lifeguards, who helped pull the man from the whitewash.
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"I had just been looking for the pro surfers (in the Billabong Pro) when I saw this guy put his hand up and I saw he was in trouble - he was being dragged down the beach," James said.
It was the closest the North Narrabeen nipper has come to a rescue but he has his sights set on becoming a professional lifeguard.
"I want to be a lifeguard because they get to go out on the boards and save people," he said.
"And they get to spend all day on the beach."
The surfer left the beach before James had a chance to meet him.
It was just one of many rescues yesterday, all mainly surfers who decided to brave the wild conditions for that perfect ride.
Six beaches were closed at Coffs Harbour, in the state's north, after winds whipped up 4m swells.
Surf boat competitors in the George Bass Classic on the NSW South Coast were among those who had to be pulled from heavy surf.
To see live web cams of beach conditions, go to our Beaches in-depth section.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter also pulled two surfers to safety at Stanwell Park, south of Sydney, about 10am.
Two American surfers attempting tow-in surfing with a jetski had to be rescued after they were washed on to rocks at Woolgoolga Beach, north of Coffs Harbour.
Massive waves of up to 3m are expected to force the closure of Sydney's beaches for the second day today, as a tropical low off Queensland continues to whip up huge surf along the coast.
"There will be a lot of sore heads on the beach, but it doesn't mean that people should stop using their heads," Surf Life Saving NSW spokesman Brett Moore said.
"If a beach is closed, it is closed for your safety.
Heed the warnings of lifesavers on the beach and, while people may be disappointed, it is for their own safety."
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Webb told The Daily Telegraph the wild swells were caused by a tropical low 400km northeast of Fraser Island.
"It formed last Friday, deepened on the weekend and is now moving very slowly to the north," he said.
"There is also a high pressure ridge off the central coast of NSW.
"Combined with the low, that's producing these gale force easterly winds that are causing the big swells in the Sydney area."
He said beaches along the NSW coast would see waves of between 2m and 3m for the rest of the week.
"The swell is coming from a long way away so these waves are very energetic and there will be a lot of power in the swell," he said.