Big swells and busy beaches kept the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service on their toes over the weekend, with five rescues and several responses.
Beachgoers faced a heavy north-east swell combined with a 2.10m high tide on Saturday.
Patrol captain Cameron Witney said three of the rescues involved surfers and boogie-boarders biting off a little more than they could chew in a big swell.
"It was a bit concerning both boogie-boarders weren't wearing fins," Witney said.
"February is usually when we start seeing more easterly swells develop and the water is at its warmest so it's a great reminder to people hitting the beaches to take extra care."
Although this January was one of the hottest on record, surf conditions have been relatively benign for lifeguards.
Things kicked off over the last fortnight, however, with Saturday's swell leaving a potentially nasty hangover.
Strong currents have gouged out holes all along the coast, greatly increasing the chances of rips on tomorrow's public holiday
Another big swell was due to hit later this week, stemming from several low-pressure systems dropping down out of the Pacific.
Lifeguards also patrolled the Mauao base track on Saturday morning, where the swell coincided with a king tide, causing waves to wash over the track in some places.
Witney said the other incidents involved lifeguards helping ill and injured people off Mauao.
Witney himself was involved in a rescue before patrol started on Saturday, helping two surfers in trouble after one had been pulled out by strong currents.
Regional lifeguards finish week-day patrolling at the end of this week at most beaches, while voluntary patrols will continue every weekend until Easter.
Safety at the beach
- Swim between the flags
- Check in with lifeguards before taking a dip
- Know your limits, especially if you're on a board.