The surfer who died on the beach at Tamarama on Wednesday was a well-known publisher who had settled in Sydney with his young family after moving from Britain.
Matthew Richell, a father-of-two from Balmain, died after he was swept onto rocks while surfing.
The 41-year-old was pulled unconscious from the water by other surfers, who tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.
Mr Richell was the chief executive of Hachette Australia, which is part of global publishing house Hachette Livre.
His wife, Hannah Richell, is one of Hachette's authors and wrote Secrets of the Tides and The Shadow Year.
The couple are both from Britain and had settled in Sydney's inner west with their two children, aged six and three.
Police informed Mrs Richell of her husband's death.
A spokeswoman for Hachette could not comment on the death and said Mr Richell's family was too distraught to speak.
Police say Mr Richell had been surfing at Bronte beach but was carried north towards Tamarama. He is understood to have been surfing with a friend.
He was washed into an area known as "The Twins" and a jetski was on its way from Bondi to rescue him when a wave knocked him into rocks before the jetski could reach him.
Waverley Council chief lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said the area is named after two large vertical rocks.
“It’s dangerous in there because you have a lot of ledges underneath. You’ve got sharp rocks, and there’s no other way out of there."
Mr Richell sustained a head injury and despite the efforts of surfers and paramedics, who took over CPR on the beach, he could not be revived.
Mr Hopkins said the water at The Twins usually washes people towards either Bronte or Tamarama beach but when panic sets in, some try to “get out” on the rocks.
“That’s probably the worst thing you can possibly do.”
Bronte and Tamarama beaches are not patrolled by life guards in the winter.
Coleen O'Neill, of the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club, said the spot where Mr Richell appears to have run into trouble is "very treacherous" because of rips that pull towards the rocks.
“That’s very, very dangerous there. Because of the rips. It happens at that point ... it can pull you out and pull you around into Tama," she said.
“That particular spot would have to be the most dangerous on the beach. And Tamarama is classed as the most dangerous beach in Sydney, I’d say, and Bronte’s not too far behind it."
Nearby resident Nicky Lavigne, who was walking on Tamarama beach, said it was “horrible” to witness emergency crews trying to revive Mr Richell.
“The surf at the moment is pretty big,” she said.
Three-foot swells were forecast along the coast of Sydney this afternoon and Mr Hopkins said they may have been up to four.
The CEO of Hachette UK Tim Hely Hutchinson issued a statement expressing his condolences to the Ritchell family.
"With great sorrow, and in shock, we have to announce the death of our beloved friend and colleague, Matt Richell, CEO of Hachette Australia and Chairman of Hachette New Zealand, who was tragically killed in a surfing accident ... our thoughts and most heartfelt condolences are with Matt’s wife Hannah, his family, his colleagues and many friends in publishing and more widely."
Police are preparing a report for the coroner.