The public is once again permitted to visit local beaches under alert level 3, but Whanganui Boardriders president Vaughan Coveny said distancing rules still needed to be in place for the surfers keen to brave the autumnal waters..
"Once you're in the water, you're probably not in anyone's pocket," Coveny said.
"Waiting for the tide to come in and amalgamating in the carpark is definitely something you don't want to be doing."
Whanganui was "pretty lucky" that its beaches didn't get large groups of surfers, Coveny said, compared to Gisborne or New Plymouth.
"Even though we won't see huge crowds of people, avoid that carpark chit-chat if you can, and use common sense.
"I know there are people out there itching to go for a surf, and I'm really glad that we're able to take our boards out again."
Whanganui Emergency Operations Centre controller Stuart Hylton said the move to alert level 3 meant restrictions on vehicle access to Castlecliff Beach lifted.
"Beach users are reminded to maintain the same social distancing rules as in alert level 4 by keeping two metres apart from anyone not in their bubble," Hylton said.
"Under level 3 people can do more activities, but only if they're experienced and can do them safely and locally.
"Only experienced surfers should go to their local break, and if you want to go fishing you can do so from a wharf or the shore."
Whanganui Surf Lifesaving Club supervisor Phil Gilmour said the lack of lifeguards on patrol throughout New Zealand should deter most people from "having an icy dip".
"Most of the people in Whanganui know the west coast pretty well, and if they see that it's a bit nasty out on the water, they'll come back another day."
Gilmour said people "would probably be going a little stir crazy out there", but that it was important to keep a distance.
"I know the community is keen to get out and about and realign the old brain cells, but it would be catastrophic if this [Covid-19] comes back in a big way.
"Most people I've seen on the beach have been doing all the right things and following the rules.
"Because of the lack of lifeguards patrolling the beaches, I'd advise everyone to be extremely cautious before they decide to get in the water."