Big swells and 'no swimming' signs on two of Tauranga's three surf beaches did not deter beachgoers from braving the rough seas today.

The swimming flags were taken in at 11am this morning on Mount Maunganui beach. At Pāpāmoa beach the flags never even saw the light of the sunny day.

MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said there were north-easterly swells standing at around two and a half to three metres hitting Tauranga shorelines.

A low-pressure system coming down from the tropics had generated strong winds and swells from Northland through to the Bay of Plenty.

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The rough seas were expected to churn through to Monday before easing off on Tuesday.

Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service patrol captain Jamie Troughton said beachgoers had needed help moving between Moturiki (Leisure) Island and the mainland today.

During high tide around noon, the walking path became swamped, with waves surging around the island and lifeguards helped the elderly, children or anyone who looked like they needed a hand getting to land, Troughton said.

Despite 'no swimming' signs on the beach, numerous swimmers and surfers had ventured into the water.

A beachgoer watches as massive waves roll into Mount Main beach. Photo/George Novak.
A beachgoer watches as massive waves roll into Mount Main beach. Photo/George Novak.

"We've advised no swimming and are talking to people to advise them of the dangers [such as] new rips and strong currents."

The surf club was monitoring the beach by doing rounds on the quad bikes and had the jetski on hand. The club was aiming to avoid any rescues at a "critical" stage by advising and assisting people.

At Pāpāmoa Surf Life Saving Club, those who braved the rough seas were being advised over the PA system to stay safe and ensure they could always touch the ground, patrol captain Daniel Edward said.

An assessment of the conditions at 10am meant the flags had not been put out, but people were still flocking to the beach under the hot sun.

Meanwhile, Ōmanu Surf Life Saving Club patrol captain Roisin Boyle said the flags were out, but swimmers were advised to stay in the shallow waters and were being watched closely by lifeguards.

Oliver, who works at a local surf shop, said the swells today were "pretty big" with the wind and current alignment making for good surf.

"We don't usually get over 8ft (2.4m)."

He did not think there would be many people out surfing today, aside from those who knew what they were doing.

A sign informing beachgoers that the beach is closed. Photograph/George Novak. Photo/File
A sign informing beachgoers that the beach is closed. Photograph/George Novak. Photo/File

Users of the Mauao base track were also affected by the wild weather.

People were urged to be cautious, especially those with children, while using the track as the high seas meant waves crashed over the path.

The council had warning signs up and were monitoring the situation.