A student at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, died after a powerful wave swept her from a rock and out to sea in South Africa.
Sinead Moodliar, aged 19, was on holiday over the Christmas period last year when the accident happened.
On Monday, an inquest heard that the teenager was watching the sun rise at Umhlanaga Rocks, a beach near Durban, on Boxing Day when she was involved in a "catastrophic accident".
Miss Moodliar's parents, of Wilburton near Ely, attended the inquest. Her father, Bob Moodliar, said he flew from the UK to South Africa as soon as he heard his daughter was involved in an accident, but she died in hospital before he could arrive.
People on the beach reported hearing screams at 5.15am. Miss Moodliar was dragged from the water by lifeguards and paramedics resuscitated her, but she died in hospital on December 27.
A post-mortem examination, conducted in Durban, recorded Miss Moodliar's medical cause of death as complications following near drowning. It noted a head injury consistent with striking a rock as she fell, and lung damage.
At the inquest, the coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Mr Moddliar said the family still feel as if she is still on holiday,