Dale Gration felt sick when he saw a great white shark explode out of the water and ram his friend Martin Kane's surf ski off Mullaloo.
But despite his shock and fearing his friend was dead that terrifying June morning, Mr Gration did not hesitate to paddle to Mr Kane's aid, dragging him to safety on the back of his ski.
The Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club member is being recognised for his bravery with a Surf Life Saving Australia silver certificate of merit.
Mr Kane believes his friends, especially Mr Gration, saved his life. At the time, he said how much it meant to him that they put aside their own safety to help him.
Mr Kane said Mr Gration's effort to save him had been "superhuman" and he deserved every accolade that could be bestowed on him.
The other men who had been paddling with them that day - Kim Allen, Jordan Puchar and Richard Orme - and also helped save Mr Kane have been awarded SLSA bronze certificates of merit.
In Sydney ahead of the awards of excellence function, Mr Gration said it was nice to be recognised by his peers. "But for me the real award is still having Marty around to go and paddle with - that was the best outcome of the whole incident," Mr Gration said.
The group had been out for a morning paddle when the shark struck. "It just launched itself out of the water and took the ski with it . . . all you could see was a white underbelly and tail flopping back into the water," Mr Gration said.
He said the attack had robbed him and his friends of the innocence of those regular morning outings. But they had all tried to return to the water regularly.