Dozens of people were rescued and assisted at Auckland's west coast beaches in one of the busiest days surf lifeguards have had this summer.

Auckland clocked a humid 26C today and people flocked to the beaches in their thousands, said Surf Lifesaving Northern Region duty manager Dan Lee.

At Karekare, next to Piha, 11 people needed "major first aid", 30 people required assistance and nine had to be rescued.

At Muriwai, there were 14 rescues, 15 assists and three major first aid incidents.

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Piha itself was relatively quiet.

"It was a big day on patrol," Lee said. "There wasn't huge surf but there was quite a strong swell with offshore winds."

Something that was particularly noticeable was the number of people staying at the beaches late into the evening, long after volunteer lifeguards were supposed to have finished for the day. They worked overtime to keep an eye on the water-goers.

"It was a huge effort from then," he said. "Muriwai had a thousand on the beach at 6pm and 300 in the water so they patrolled at least an extra two hours to cover the big numbers we had in the evening."

Lee could not recall a day that had been busier this summer, but he was extremely pleased with how lifeguards had coped with the huge numbers.

At its peak about 4pm, there was a headcount of some 10,000 people at northern region beaches.

"The North Shore beaches were very busy, the number of people at Muriwai was exceptionally high and Piha was very busy as well," Lee said.

"I can't say for sure but from what I've seen, this was potentially our busiest day [this season]."