A JUNIOR lifesaver was only seconds from being saved when a solid set of waves tore him from his 15-year-old rescuer's hands.Matthew Barclay, who drowned at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kurrawa on Wednesday, was tore him from his rescuer's hands.
Cronulla youngster Keegan Street, a fellow competitor in the under-15 board race, saw 14-year-old Matt fall from his board.
It is believed he was struck by his own board, knocking him unconscious.
Surf lifesavers today returned to the beach and the surf this morning to honour their fallen comrade Matthew Barclay in the way his parents said he would most want to be remembered - by competing in a sport the 14-year-old loved so much.
The extraordinary tight-knit community have rallied around each other and the Queenslander teenager's family since Barclay disappeared during a board race on Thursday.
Competition was immediately suspended but after the youngsters body was found yesterday his parents told offocials their son would want the annual carnival to continue.
Today it has with thousands of surf lifesavers hitting the beach at the alternate venue of Kirra.
A special tribute will be made to Barclay as well on Sunday, the final day of the annual competition.
While the spotlight has fallen on the event after a second teenager in two years died while competiting, big names in the sport have rushed to defend the carnival and the sport they love.
Matt's family was the driving force behind SLSA yesterday deciding to continue the titles, which will now be hosted at North Kirra, the contingency beach which is not likely to dish up dangerous surf.
Matt's fellow clubmates from the Maroochydore club held a vigil at the Broadbeach Surf Club last night with a video link to the Sunshine Coast club.
A senior Cronulla member said Keegan was coping well, despite being interviewed numerous times as the police investigate the death.
"He did his very best and we're very proud of him," the club member said.
"It's in the spirit of what we do.