The "traumatised" widow of broadcaster Graeme Moody is being cared for by family and the community at the New South Wales beach where he died.
One local surfer at Angourie Beach, who wished to remain anonymous, said Beverly Moody was struggling with the death of her husband.
"They had no kids, and pretty much, he was her life. And so it's even doubly tragic. And so she's a bit lost, I'd say, and will be a bit lost for a while."
Broadcaster and surfer Graeme Moody died in a "freakish" surf accident on Wednesday afternoon, after his leg rope was caught under rocks off the coast of Angourie Beach.
Amidst high swells and messy conditions, he was dragged unconscious from the surf. Paramedic's attempts at CPR failed to save him.
Moody and his wife were over for a month-long holiday from Wellington. Locals say the pair have been visiting annually since the 1970s, and are well known around the town.
Mrs Moody is still in Angourie, a small settlement of about 300 people. She was staying with a local couple she had known for years, the surfer said.
Moody's brother flew over yesterday to support her and help organise things, he said.
"She's being looked after but obviously she's very traumatised about it all and in a bad way."
"Everyone's looking after her, there's no dramas there. She's got good support."
The couple were due to fly back yesterday after spending a month-long holiday in Australia.
Angourie Cove, about 500m wide, is a popular surf destination known across the world for its waves.
The tight-knit community was shaken after the accident, which was the first surfing death in the history of the area, he said.
"Everyone's in shock basically. Disbelief, numb, just trying to look for answers and there's no answers."
He said no warning signs had been put up, and didn't expect to see any go up.
"Everyone knows surfing is hazardous. Skiing, snowboarding, surfing it's all hazardous, accidents are going to happen.
"It doesn't happen every day. What can you do? It's a freakish, freakish thing."
The surfer saw the tragedy unfold, and tried to pull Moody from the high swells and resuscitate him. He said he hadn't been surfing since the accident.
"I think it's a warning. It makes you aware of what can happen out there because everyone's been though those sorts of situations and have managed to get out of it."
He said all surfers jump off one rocky point of the surf cove, which was the same spot where Moody entered the waves.
"To jump off that spot, it will be in the back of your mind. But it's not going to stop people going out there and surfing, that's for sure."
Back in New Zealand, tributes have been flowing for the well-known broadcaster. Moody was a sports reporter and commentator on NewsTalk ZB for 35 years covering major events, including the Olympic Games, rugby world cups, Commonwealth Games and America's Cup yachting.
NewsTalk ZB used its Friday morning show to hold a three-part tribute to the former employee, where fellow staff, friends and family all shared memories.
Phil Wollerman, an old friend of Moody, said: "He was good natured, had a good attitude. He was an expert level surfer, renowned for tackling some of the heaviest waves in Wellington and Wairarapa."
"My sincere condolences go out to Bev, because they were pretty close. I'd say her life pretty much revolved around him."