Three men on borrowed boogie boards fought rough seas for almost two hours to save a swimmer swept 600 metres out to sea south of Melbourne.
The trio guided the man back to land on Wednesday afternoon hours after the 56-year-old was caught in a rip at Blairgowrie surf beach.
Two of the rescuers, Jack O'Sullivan and Liam Grigg, were playing soccer on the unpatrolled beach when the swimmer's wife began calling for help at 4.15pm.
"Most of the people on the beach knew something had to happen because it's an unpatrolled beach so we just asked people for boogie boards and flippers to borrow," Mr O'Sullivan told 3AW on Thursday.
Joined by a third man with flippers and a foam buoy soon after, the rescuers worked to get the tired swimmer away from heavy surf and rocks.
"(The swimmer) wasn't that distressed, he was pretty good but more just really tired," Mr Grigg told 3AW.
"Once we got out the back, away from the waves, it wasn't dangerous at all."
The swimmer was taken to hospital suffering from mild hypothermia.