While they went for help, Khan was being knocked under water. Stuck under a bridge of two rocks, Khan hit her head trying to get to the surface. Her arms, legs and feet showed scrapes and abrasions Wednesday.
"It was the scariest moment of my life," Mathur of Irvine said. "At first I didn't think everything was going to be OK. I thought she would drown."
Mathur and Aadil felt defenseless. They both knew how to swim but the reefs posed challenges, and they thought they would only make the dangerous situation worse.
While in the water, Khan said she remembered a story she heard in elementary school of a man who survived in the ocean by staying calm, holding his breath and occasionally coming up for air.
"I don't know how I remembered it," she said. "I'm just happy it stuck."
An unidentified elderly man attempted to help several times but he wasn't able to pull Khan out. According to police, he was Lake Elsinore resident Mike Oshea.
Pribram, a columnist for the Coastline Pilot, was on the balcony of his parents' beachfront home when he noticed the commotion. As he ran to the beach, a man told him that Khan couldn't swim. He knew he had to get to her quickly, diving between rocks and out to ocean, to pull her in.
When he reached Khan, she was bleeding and coughing up water.
"I wanted to grab her and take that all away from her," he said.
As they reunited Wednesday, Khan's family in tow, she was upbeat as they recounted her near-death experience. Before Pribram came, she said, she thought she might die.
However, she said, she wasn't going without a fight.
"I couldn't give up," she said. "I fought for my life."
Pribram hopes people can learn from Khan's ordeal.
"I think her story can bring awareness about the dangers of the ocean," he said.
Pribram, who runs Aloha Surfing School, offered to give her a few lessons.
Khan said she wants to learn to swim, but she's taking a couple months off from the waves.