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Three people had to be rescued on the busiest days of the year so far for surf lifesavers in Hawke's Bay, as thousands flocked to scorching beaches.

Neither of the rescues, one at Waimarama and one at Ocean Beach, were near-drownings, but the sheer scale of people in the water made it "hard work" for those patrolling.

Two of the busiest Hawke's Bay beaches Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club Inc and Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Lifesaving Club had one rescue incident each on Sunday.


James Laver, patrol captain at Waimarama Beach Surf Life Saving Club, said there were approximately 1200 people on the beach as temperatures went above 30 degrees Celsius about 2pm.

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"There were a couple of kids on boogie boards who had paddled out too far. They were about 500 metres offshore. They got caught in a rip," Laver said.

He said the busier it got, the harder it got to manage swimmers, even with 12 people in the tower and two or three around it.

"It is hard work for the lifeguards to have this many people at the beach but they are all trained."

Adrian Barclay, senior lifeguard at Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Lifesaving Club, said Ocean Beach had one rescue out of 1000 people who'd come down to the beach.

Three people got into trouble past the sandbar out from the shore in the mid-afternoon sun - two were able to swim in, but one man had to be rescued, Barclay said.

He said the difficulty arose when the lifeguards had to keep an eye out on people swimming in two different spots.


"We had eight senior lifeguards on duty but the difficulty was that even though the sandbar was out in the ocean, there were lots of small children and elderly swimming between the sandbar and the beach.

"It was very calm, but very deep. The lifeguards also had to keep an eye out on people swimming beyond the sandbar."

A sandbar is a submerged or partly exposed ridge of sand or coarse sediment that is built by waves offshore from a beach.

The swirling turbulence of waves breaking off a beach excavates a trough in the sandy bottom.

People flocked to Ocean Beach to cool down. Photo / Paul Taylor
People flocked to Ocean Beach to cool down. Photo / Paul Taylor

The Westshore Surf Life Saving club wasn't as busy, but the beach still had a lot more swimmers than it normally does, of the human and fish variety.

Director Brian Quirk said there were approximately 150 people at the beach on Sunday.

"We had a minor problem with jellyfish and a couple of kids got stung," Quirk said.

"The sting is nothing like the sting of a blue bottle but it still leaves welts."

There were half a dozen jellyfish in the patrol area, he said.

"They do seem to like warmer water and onshore winds."

WeatherWatch on Monday predicted dangerous beach conditions for Hawke's Bay when what it predicted would be a "sizeable cyclone" forms near Fiji later this week.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said it was not something that should worry residents, with no cyclone developed yet.