Meet the Gold Coast ironwoman on a mission to paddle around Australia on a surf ski


Sharks, crocodiles and big surf are just some of the hurdles Bonnie Hancock is expecting to encounter over the next six months. 

The Gold Coast ironwoman is embarking on a mammoth mission — paddling around Australia on a surf ski. 

“We’re going down to miss the cold season down the bottom and miss the wet up the top.”

She is aiming to complete the 16,000-kilometre journey in six months — to break the current record of 10 months and 22 days. 

Ms Hancock says she was inspired after reading about current record holder Freya Hoffmeister’s journey; the German woman paddled around Australia in 2009. 

“I was so inspired by her story but soon afterwards I started thinking, could I do it a little bit faster,” she said. 


She will set off from Mermaid Beach on Sunday morning, aiming to reach Ballina on day one.

woman on beach with paddle
Ms Hancock aims to break a record, paddling around Australia in six months. (Supplied: Bonnie Hancock)

What lurks below

Ms Hancock says she’s been “desensitising” herself to the sight of the marine creatures she is likely to encounter, like crocodiles and sharks. 


“Getting used to what I can see and acting in a practical and logical way, and if that means getting on the boat ASAP, that’s what I’ll do.” 

Not a solo mission 

Ms Hancock will be supported by a team of 10 people along the way; they will travel both by land and by boat. 


Her husband, Matt Palmer, says he’s a little bit anxious, but excited — he will oversee the entire operation. 

“There’s a big component of people videoing and documenting the experience then there’s the sailing and also the land crew who are managing the on-ground process, getting to the next town,” Mr Palmer said. 

woman holding surf ski
Ms Hancock will have a support team of 10 people on her journey. (Supplied: Bonnie Hancock)

Paddling for a cause

Ms Hancock isn’t just aiming to break a record; she is also raising money for mental health charity Gotcha4Life. 

“That’s a mental fitness charity; they work on resilience and building emotional muscle in corporate settings and school,” she said. 


People can follow her trip on Instagram

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