Ms Lester said conditions were choppy but the water had been warm and there were still plenty of people swimming.
The dramatic rescue was one of a series of rescues throughout the Bay over the long weekend.
At Mount Maunganui, a man was taken to Tauranga Hospital after also getting caught in a rip on Sunday.
Senior Mount Maunganui lifeguard Kent Jarman said the middle-aged man was rescued by two lifeguards about 2.30pm after getting into difficulty about 100m out from Cutter's Cove.
"The swimmer was in quite a bit of distress once the lifeguards got him back to shore, and he was taken to Tauranga Hospital to be checked out after taking in quite a bit of sea water.
"We also rescued two more men in their 40s further down at Tay St in an area which borders the Omanu Surf Patrol area, including a boogie boarder," he said.
Mr Jarman said the two men did not need medical treatment, but if the lifeguards had not been there it could have been quite a different story.
"We also undertook lots of preventative actions, and were constantly having to move people along or away from areas where there were big holes or rips to keep them out of danger."
Mr Jarman said all along the Marine Parade area was quite a difficult place to swim as a number of big holes had opened up after the recent large swells created by tropical cyclone Victor.
"When the big surf drops away, as it has, lots of sand gets shifted around and it carves out lots of holes and create rips."
Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club captain Shaun Smith said it was fortunate they had not had to rescue anyone and most people seemed to be responsible when swimming in the area.
"For us, people are more nervous when we've got big surf like we've had over the past few weeks.
"That's probably the biggest message for us to get out there right now, is swim between the flags. And if there aren't any flags up and there's no lifeguards around, there's usually a good reason why."
Dangerous waters A rip is a strong current of water running out to sea. Rip currents can be hard to identify, look for these features:
* Discoloured or murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom
* A smoother surface with much smaller waves, with waves breaking on either side
* Debris floating out to sea
* A rippled look, when the water around is generally calm.
If you get caught in a rip:
* Don't panic
* Don't try to swim against the rip back to shore
* Let the rip carry you out until the current subsides
* Then swim parallel to the beach for 30-40m before swimming back to shore
* If you get tired or become frightened, stay calm, raise your arm, call for help and wait for assistance.