Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service patrol captain Kent Jarman and Julien LaLanne were awarded Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Rescue of the Month for their efforts on March 10.
The two had already knocked off for the day when a call came in there was a surfer in distress.
In fading light and rough seas, the two headed out in an IRB with guidance from people pointing from Moturiki Island and found the exhausted surfer just in time.
General manager Glenn Bradley said both Mr Jarman and Mr Lalanne had won national titles in the national sports championships that weekend.
"It's great for us to see our lifeguards getting recognised for what was a really meritorious rescue," Mr Bradley said.