Bonnie Hancock - The World Record Paddle Of Aus

The Paddle of Aus

Bonnie Smiling

Bonnie Hancock is a Gold Coast based athlete with a passion to dream big and push herself to the limits.

She recently returned from 8 months at sea after paddling around Australia on a surf ski, breaking multiple world records in the process.

A professional Ironwoman at just 17, Bonnie competed in 9 Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series and represented Australia in surf lifesaving, a testament to her athletic ability, dedication and perseverance.

The Journey

Bonnie Beautiful Scenery

The journey began on December 19, 2021, when Bonnie departed the Gold Coast to attempt to be the 5th person in history, and the second woman, to paddle around Australia on a surf ski.

If her plans were successful, she would be both the youngest and the fastest to complete the staggering 12,700km+ circumnavigation.

Along the way, Bonnie paddled past uninhabited coastline, confronted the most remote parts of Australia, treacherous conditions and wild, wicked weather.

She was followed by crocodiles and had to face sharks, was hit with hypothermia, nausea and sea sickness and if that wasn't enough she had to overcome logistical challenges and changes in support crew.

World Record

Bonnie stormed through a mammoth 24 hour stint on July 12 from Lockhart River to Flinders Island off the Cape York Peninsula – paddling a massive 213 km with only 2 x 15 minute breaks - a new world mark for a female.

Challenges

Bonnie Struggling

One of her greatest challenges was a 17 day horror stretch across the Great Australian Bight where she paddled 500km off the coast, instead of hugging the coastline so she could cut 1000km off her circumnavigation.

She faced two to six metre swells, suffered from sea sickness, intense nausea and lost 8 kilos, paddled through the darkest of nights and long gruelling days with little sleep, little food, and one support vessel her only contact.

When Bonnie landed in Esperance she was taken under police escort by ambulance (it was COVID days) to hospital. Totally dehydrated and exhausted, she was given two IV bags and tested several times for COVID.

Bonnie was COVID negative, but she was forced to go back to the boat to “isolate” for 7 days. She spent a day recovering, and then pushed forward to Albany – perfectly timed, a 7 day trip!!

Returning Home

Bonnie Finish

On August 28, 2022, Bonnie paddled back into her home town on the Gold Coast 254 days after her journey began, making her the fastest and youngest person in history to circumnavigate Australia by paddle.

Realizing she may never be as fit as she was upon returning, Bonnie rested up at home and got her strength back, then, on September 12th headed back out into the ocean off Airlie Beach and tackled the men's world record for the most distance paddled in 24 hours.

After a grueling session and suffering pain from a tear in her bicep, Bonnie hit the 24 hour mark clocking 234km, 7km's on the previous world record. 

Although yet to be officially ratified by Guinness World Records, we're cheering for this superhuman effort!

HGG Support

Mick and Bonnie at HGG

During the planning phase, HGG had the opportunity to get involved and support the mission, and we jumped at the idea to help make it happen.

We have been proud sponsors and supporters since day one, and we couldn't be any more stoked to be a part of this incredible journey.

Bonnie, thank you for inspiring us and showing us what is capable!

Gotcha4Life

Bonnie dedicated her paddle to raising fund for the Gotcha4Life foundation.

In Bonnie's words "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, I want to do my 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.

Donations are still open and Bonnie is still aiming to hit her target of $100,000. If you could spare a few dollars, please donate here.

Want to Hear More?

We recently sat down with Bonnie to listen to her journey, and it is one of the wildest and most exhilarating stories you will likely ever hear.

You can watch the full episode of Squeeze The Juice Podcast on our YouTube channel or click here to choose your favorite audio streaming platform. 

You can check out Bonnie's website here
Follow Bonnie on Instagram here