Santa delighted some of the Bay's future lifesavers at the weekend, when he traded in his sleigh for an inflatable rescue boat.
The visit from the man in red was part of Mount Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club's nippers' Christmas party yesterday.
Nippers is a fun introduction to surf skills and water safety for children aged seven to 13.
Santa was "picked up from the North Pole" by experienced lifeguards Leigh Sefton and Robert Sheard and sped to the nippers waiting on the Main Mount Beach.
Mt Maunganui junior surf co-ordinator Andrew Newton said the 180 juniors in the Mount programme had a blast on the sunny, surf-happy day.
"It was a great chance for the coaches, the athletes and their families to get together before the festive break. We've got a big junior carnival next weekend and many of our juniors will be competing in that, although there will still be a junior programme running at the club.
"Having Santa turn up on the IRB was a definite highlight for the kids, who were very impressed with his wave-riding skills."
Nippers runs every Sunday morning from November to March, with a break during the Christmas period. Mount lifeguards reported a busy day on the beach yesterday, with a one-metre swell running, although the only incidents were minor first-aid situations.
Regional surf lifeguards will be patrolling Bay of Plenty beaches from today, in conjunction with regular voluntary patrols, which will run for eight weeks over the holiday period.