Champion surfer Joel Parkinson says he was seconds from death after his leg rope got caught on submerged rocks at the weekend.
The former world champion has told of being trapped under water in northern NSW and the moment he began to think he wouldn't survive.
Parkinson, who has ridden some of the world's biggest waves, got his leg rope caught after being knocked off his board and thrown into the water.
He says he was trapped underwater for what seemed like an eternity until the rope finally came loose.
"I couldn't get up," Parkinson has told The Gold Coast Bulletin.
"I only had about 10 seconds of air left. It scared the absolute bejesus out of me.
"I didn't think I was going to get back up. It was a close call. Finally the leash gave way."
In fact, the incident spooked the father-of-two so much he didn't even tell his wife Monica.
"The only person I told was my dad," he said.
Parkinson wouldn't say exactly where the scare happened, wanting to protect the spot from hoards of other surfers.