A 37-year-old man died at Blackmans Bay Beach, south of Hobart, after a desperate attempt to save his life.
The man from Cygnet got into trouble during an early morning fire shortly after 8:00 on Sunday morning, and witnesses on the beach raised the alarm, the police said.
A nearby kayaker tried to pull the man out of the water, while a uniformed policeman swam out to help.
One witness told the ABC: "It was not crude to look at it, but given the kayak struggle, the current must have been stronger than it seemed."
The man was brought to the coast from about 100 meters, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he died on the spot.
Inspector Matthew Richman said that both men did everything to save the surfer.
"In every circumstance of a rescue, it is a very brave person who takes some action, in this case it was a particularly cold circumstance."
"The men have acted incredibly bravely and we will certainly look into making sure we recognize what their actions are," he said.
Bystanders called emergency services when they saw the man in trouble. (ABC News: Erin Cooper)
The Kayaker suffered a dislocated shoulder and the policeman suffered mild hypothermia during the rescue attempt.
"In a conversation with the policeman, he said there was a power that caused him to adjust several times," Inspector Richman said.
Both men were taken to Royal Hobart Hospital and released later.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
accidents — other,