A Montreal man who has for years sailed and surfed around the world says he was seconds away from drowning in the St. Lawrence River before he was saved by a couple on a Sea-Doo.

Benjamin Spiridinov was surfing near the Habitat 67 housing complex in the Old Montreal Port area on June 15 when his board’s safety cord snapped and the strong current sucked him under, rendering him unable to breathe.

“My lifeline disconnected from me and you start fighting for your life,” Spiridinov told CTV Montreal.

Three men on a boat noticed him struggling to stay afloat but could not reach him, so they flagged down Jocelyn Bordeleau and his partner Sonia Dupuis, who were riding on Sea-Doos.

“When I saw in the water, we just saw, like, a hand and the man -- just his hair,” Bordeleau told CTV Montreal.

He jumped in the water and managed to pull out Spiridinov who he said looked dead.

“He was white, blue…all hands blue, feet blue,” Bordeleau said.

Dupuis and another man began performing CPR on Spiridinov, before the Coast Guard arrived and took him to the hospital.

“The feeling you have is terrible,” Bordeleau said. “You don’t know if you saved a life or not, if this guy will come back.”

Spiridinov survived and he and his rescuers have become fast friends.

He is calling on surfers and swimmers -- even experienced ones -- to take safety precautions and to wear life vests when out on the water.

“Nature doesn’t have a time-out, you know?” Spiridinov said. “You are on your own.”

And he isn’t letting his near-death experience get in the way of wind surfing, his favourite pastime.

“I thought the best way to recover after that is to come back into the water,” he said.

With a report from CTV’s Quebec Bureau Chief Genevieve Beachemin and CTV Montreal