Extreme sea conditions close Pacific Beach beach to swimmers

A swell bringing large waves to the shores off Napier’s foreshore has seen Pacific Beach closed to swimmers on an otherwise perfect Hawke’s Bay day.

Regional paid lifeguards supervisor John Callinicos said the surf, on a beach already notorious for its water’s edge dangers had become too dangerous, most obviously as it pounded the viewing platform within a few hundred metres of the Pacific Surf Life Saving Club, near where the patrol area for the day would have been located.

Forecasts were for conditions that could continue the closure on Wednesday.

Police said this evening that the beach was closed “due to extreme sea conditions”.

“Harding Road Beach is also considered dangerous and should also be avoided, with 2-metre waves breaking on to a shingle beach,” police said.

Callinicos said there had been few problems on the five beaches patrolled by a total of 17 lifeguards on weekdays during the peak of the summer, in addition to the weekend patrols by clubs at Waipatiki, Westshore, the beach off Marine Parade, and at rip-prone Waimarama, where there had been two rescue incidents on December 27.

Callinicos said much of the work had been about prevention, and warning those at the beaches of the risks they might be facing in specific areas, with Pacific Beach now having more warning signs following the death of a 5-year-old boy last month.

Meanwhile, MetService meteorologist Kyle Lee said a southerly was expected in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday evening and to immediately drop temperatures from the mid to late 20s to the early 20s.

It ends a run of stunning summer weather in the region, and across New Zealand, which has seen thousands head to rivers and beaches to cool off.

With Hastings water fun icon Splash Planet closed for the summer due to the threat of Covid, and seawater in Hawke Bay measure at least 3C warmer than usual, beaches in particular have been taking a hammering from punters.

Lee said the southerly would bring showers on Wednesday evening and the potential for a “pretty wet” day on Thursday, before beginning to clear on Friday.

By Saturday the sun would be out again, and by Sunday the temperatures would have increased to the balmy 29C days the region has become accustomed to over the summer break.

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