Strong westerly winds may flatten out the surf along the Bay coastline this summer but local surf lifesavers say it can bring other risks.

The El Nino weather pattern the country is currently experiencing is well known for its tendency to bring more frequent and more intense winds, Niwa meteorologist Chris Brandolino says.

Throughout spring, winds were likely to come from the southwest, swinging around in summer to westerly winds, he said.

While that would whip up the waves on the west coast of New Zealand, surf on the east coast would flatten right down.


"You could just have some background swells opposed to the waves on the west coast," Mr Brandolino said.

While the flat sea may be more inviting for people who want to go swimming or parents who were concerned for their children's safety, it could bring other dangers, Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service general manager Glenn Bradley said.

"With the El Nino winds, we're seeing prolonged periods of virtually flat surf conditions.

"That can be quite inviting to go into the water but an issue with those strong offshore winds is when you have kids on inflatable toys or boogie boards."

People could easily be blown away from the shore so it was important children stayed close in, he said. Shaun Smith from the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club said there had been quite a few rescues over the years involving inflatable dinghies.

"I think people underestimate the strength of the sea and the wind," he said.

Another problem he had seen was people trying to retrieve beach balls that had blown out to sea.

"People will swim out to get it and realise they can't swim back with it."

If you did get swept out, you should stay with the craft until you could be rescued, he said.