The family of a teenager, swept out to sea at a west Auckland beach, continued to search for the 15-year-old despite a deterioration in the weather today.

Zebedee Pua was caught in a rip and swept out to sea at O'Neill Bay, near Bethells Beach, on Thursday afternoon.

He had been swimming between the flags with his brother at Bethells Beach, but the pair are understood to have gone north over the sand dunes to the unpatrolled bay.

Detective Sergeant Eugene Pickett said the boy's family and search and rescue teams today scoured the beach despite the weather being "a little worse" than on Saturday.

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"But it hasn't caused any great difficulties because they're shoreline searches only and no one is entering the water unless they're in an IRB (inflatable rescue boat) from the surf club," he said.

The search would wrap up before nightfall and would be reviewed tomorrow.

Mr Pickett said as time went on, the search was tending towards a recovery operation.