AUSSIE PADDLER BONNIE HANCOCK REWRITES THE RECORD BOOKS SETTING THE FASTEST CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF MAINLAND AUSTRALIA BY PADDLE IN THE SHAW AND PARTNERS PADDLE OF AUS
After 254 days, Queensland ironwoman Bonnie Hancock paddled into the Gold Coast’s Northcliffe Beach Sunday morning, to write her name into the history books after clocking the fastest ever circumnavigation of mainland Australia by paddle with her 12 700km journey Shaw and Partners Paddle of Aus.
The ultra-endurance athlete left the Gold Coast last December 19 (2021) and sealed the job 254 days later with a finish in front of a big Northcliffe crowd early Sunday morning August 28, 2022. Thirty-two year old Hancock is the first Australian woman, and the youngest ever paddler, to complete a circumnavigation of mainland Australia by paddle. Piloting a 9-kilo carbon NK surf ski, the Gold Coast athlete also claims a new women’s world mark for the longest 24-hour paddle - covering an incredible distance of 213km, off Cape York - from Lockhart River past Flinders Island. She is only the fifth person in history to successfully lap Australia on a ski or kayak, and the second woman.
Bonnie was born in Sawtell on the NSW mid-north coast to a family of four girls and reared with a love for surf lifesaving. The former ironwoman lives on the Gold Coast and is a practicing dietitian, and “Bon” as she is known to friends, is married to the expedition leader, Matt Palmer. Whilst reaching many personal milestones, and setting new world marks, Hancock used the paddle to raise awareness and funds for mental fitness charity Gotcha 4 Life. “This journey has been far tougher, but also far more incredible, that I could have ever imagined,”
said Hancock after crossing the finish line “When I thought of setting a lap around Australia, I really did not realise how big Australia was! It is mammoth. But it is also so incredibly beautiful, it is just an amazing country and we are so lucky to live here. “This 254 day journey has been life-changing, so many lessons, just memories for me forever. “Team was crucial, I relied so fully on our crew. It’s funny but the harder we worked, the deeper we dug, things seemed to fall into place. “We met people who just opened doors. The Gold Diggers, the Cruising Kiwis, in the end they extended a helping hand and carried us forward and somehow, stroke after stroke, 12700 kilometres plus of paddle strokes, we eventually got there.”
Help Bonnie raise $100K for mental health charity GOTCHA4LIFE on her fundraising page here.
Ironwoman and all-round fitness enthusiast Bonnie Hancock has always been focussed on her physical health to ensure she is performing at her peak. Being fit and healthy not only means physically, but mentally too. In a year where the importance of mental health has never been so critical, Bonnie wanted to do her part in raising awareness and vital funds for Gotcha4Life, an Australian not-for-profit foundation that delivers mental fitness programs that engage, educate and empower local communities.
All funds raised will help equip the next generation of Australians with the tools and resources they require to deal with any adversity they may face in their lives. Sponsors include Shaw and Partners and BMD.