After 9,400 miles paddling her surf ski around mainland Australia, former ironwoman Bonnie Hancock is set to break multiple records for badassedness.
While still being ratified, the Guinness World Records include fastest person to circumnavigate Australia by paddle, beating German paddler Freya Hoffmeister by 78 days (who was the first woman to paddle around Australia in 2009, finishing in 11 months); longest distance paddled in 24 hours by a woman — 213 kilometres off Cape York in July; and the youngest person to complete the journey at 32 years old.
As highlighted by ABC News, it was grueling. Along the way, she encountered whales, sharks and crocodiles, while battling intense swells and sea sickness, with supporters saying, “She has been through hell.” While paddling 500 kilometers off the Great Australian Bight, she endured 17 days of six-meter swells, storms and freezing conditions. She also suffered near hypothermia and sea sickness, resulting in her being hospitalised for dehydration and fatigue at Esperance.
But she also raised $65,000 for mental health charity Gotcha 4 Life in the process.
“I’ve been near hypothermic, the biggest shark sightings — oh my goodness so scary — and definitely some crocodiles up there in the Kimberley,” she told the ABC on a satellite phone near the finish late last year. “I lost eight kilos over two weeks, I kept no food down…It was very touch and go and was very scary for me.”
“If I knew all of that was coming I might of thought twice but it’s been far more incredible and also hard than I ever imagined.”
In all, she made the record-breaking paddle trip in 254 days, often paddling with a small sail boat beside her, sometimes staying out at sea for four weeks before returning to land. Hoffmeister completed her 9,400-mile circumnavigation of Australia On Dec. 7, 2011, in 332 days, at the time becoming the first woman to ever complete the journey and only the second person to do so since friend and mentor Paul Caffyn completed it in 1982.
Watch ABC News clip here:
Read about Freya’s circumnavigation HERE: