Oarsome effort

Bonnie Hancock gets a hug from hubbie Matthew Palmer after paddling into Freo – from the Gold Coast.

A PADDLER at the “almost half-way mark” of a bid to set a new record for circumnavigating Australia stopped in at Bathers Beach on Thursday evening.

Bonnie Hancock left the Gold Coast just over two months ago on her 8kg carbon fibre surf ski and has already clocked up 5000km on her solo voyage. Ms Hancock said she was hoping to get home in a bit over six months, which would shave off roughly four months from the previous record for a woman paddling around the country.

Mind you, not many people have had a crack at such an arduous journey before and if she’s successful she’ll be only the second woman to succeed.

Ms Hancock has been trailed by a support crew which includes her partner Matthew Palmer, who said WA’s strict Covid rules ruffled their waters for a little.

“We had to work it out so the time Bonnie spent at sea coming across the Great Australian Bite was enough time for her to quarantine.

“So she paddled from Coffin Bay to Esperance straight across – she was 500km out to see in 2km deep water.”

Covid was also one of the motivating factors behind her decision to use the paddle to support mental health charity Gotcha4Life.

“I was passionate about it because during the pandemic I saw a lot of people suffer with their mental health,” Ms Hancock said, adding she faced her own private battles along the way.

“You are voluntarily putting yourself into an environment where you’re isolated a lot of the time. 

“There’s people on the support boat but you can’t readily speak with them and basically you’re in physical pain as well.

“I think it provides a direct analogy to life; for people going through a hard time to keep pushing and get to the other side, and use the support around you.”

To support her voyage head to https://gotcha4life-fundraising.raisely.com/bonniehancock

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