Surfer's haunting encounter day before dead body found on beach

A surfer has detailed the horrific moment he saw a woman's remains in the ocean about 12 hours before the body washed up onto a popular Sydney beach.

A member of the public made the grim discovery on Bronte Beach, in Sydney's east, just before dawn on Wednesday, but the surfer said he saw the body drift past him around 5pm on Tuesday.

Max Vemeer said although it was "hard to see", it looked like a woman with dark hair.

A woman's body was found on the sand by an early morning visitor to Sydney's Bronte Beach.
A member of the public found the body on Bronte Beach just before dawn on Wednesday. Source: AAP

"Pieces of the skin looked like they were… gone," he said. "It was pretty shocking. It wasn't nice to see," he told the Daily Mail.

Mr Vemeer, who was in the water with another surfer at the time, said the body was "face down" so he could only see the woman's back.

At first, the pair thought it was a naked dummy floating in the water. They didn't call it in because they "weren't 100% sure" it was a human body.

Another surfer told the publication that "dark and stormy conditions" made it hard for them to confirm "exactly what the object was".

"It was really close. We were like surfing with it. Its head was down, so all you could see was what looked like someone's butt. It was really weird," they said.

It looked like "a mannequin or a dead animal", they added.

Mr Vemeer reportedly arrived at Bronte at around 9am on Wednesday for another surf to discover the beach was closed.

Police found the body at the northern end of the beach before establishing a crime scene as they investigate.

Investigators said the body seemed to have been in the water for a long period of time.

The woman’s death is currently being treated as not suspicious and police will prepare a report for the coroner.

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