At a time of year when the surf at Mount Maunganui beaches is normally flattish, local surfers are finding that there is plenty of surf around.
“We are all kind of surfed out, we've had surf two and a half weeks, non-stop waves, very unusual,” says surfer Byron Smith.
“There are great waves through the middle of the day, it's pumping at the main,” says Michael Casey.
“Down the coast, it's hard work, you really have to paddle.”
The long straight isobars on the weather maps show that the swell has a chance to build, says Byron.
The strengthening offshore breeze over the last couple of days has put a bit of a ‘wobble' in the waves.
The advantage for surfers at the Main Beach is ‘the elevator', the rip that will take a board rider right out. It makes the Main Beach easiest to surf in a big swell, but it's the same rip that saw lifeguards putting up warning signs this week.
“The clubbies haven't been out through the afternoon,” says fellow surfer Chris O'Donnell.
“I saw a girl traveller on a body board. She was on a toyshop body board. She was trying to swim against the rip the whole time and up against the rocks, and almost getting smashed against the rocks.
“I was just about to dive in and grab her when I saw a surfer going for paddle out through the rip. I said ‘Can you just grab that girl, she's struggling'. He said, ‘Sure bro, hold my board'.
“And he dived in to grab her.
“She was clueless, she didn't know. They have got signs out ‘Danger Rips' but they only put those out about 2-3pm. They should have been out most of the day because when you have this much water pushing in around it sucks the rip which we call the elevator, it just takes you straight out all the time.
“A couple of guys were telling me there were guys like a 1000 meters out today trying to paddle in on foam top boards.”
The coast is also full of people at the breaks at Tay Street, Clyde Street, Hart Street, all along Marine Parade.
There were also an estimated 80 people surfing the break on Matakana Island on Wednesday. Access is by boat or some surfers take the ferry and walk the kilometre or two along the beach.
Matakana is a more energetic break and the NZ Surf Guide recommends it for intermediate to expert surfers.
“The island is unforgiving. If you end up on the beach and you are not a good surfer, you are walking back to the entrance,” says Michael.