Former Professional Ironwoman, Ski Paddler & Corporate Speaker
Bonnie Hancock is a 32-year-old former professional ironwoman who paddled around Australia on a surf ski. The 12,700km journey took Bonnie eight grueling months, breaking the world record for the fastest and youngest to paddle around Australia.
The trip became an adventure of a lifetime as Bonnie shared the water with sharks, crocodiles and navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A story of breaking stereotypes and believing in yourself when all the odds are stacked against you, Bonnie’s story is of a young woman who made the impossible, possible.
More about Bonnie Hancock:
Growing up in the small NSW town of Sawtell, Bonnie was primarily a board paddler and swimmer and as a late bloomer on the ski, didn’t pick up a paddle until the age of 17.
After a move to the Gold Coast at 17, Bonnie managed to grab a spot in the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series and would complete 9 years on the professional circuit.
After a two year layoff finishing her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics Degree at Griffith University, Bonnie decided to focus on ski paddling, medaling at State and Australian Championships in her first year of doing so.
In 2020 Bonnie read a book about a previous circumnavigation of Australia by paddle. Two years later, she set off from Mermaid Beach on her surf ski and after 254 days, finished a clockwise loop around the country. Bonnie broke the previous World Record by over 2 months. She also holds the record for the furthest distance paddled in 24 hours (open ocean), completing 234 kms on her surf ski at Airlie Beach, just two weeks after returning from her paddle around Australia.
Through determination, grit, and mental toughness, Bonnie conquered a number of amazing feats. Some included: being the first person to cross the Great Australian Bite through 6-meter swells 500 kilometers out to sea in all weather conditions, having to be hospitalised from malnutrition and dehydration but achieving a feat that will likely not be repeated for a long time, if ever.
Since the paddle, Bonnie has enjoyed sharing her story as a corporate speaker and her story carries many relevant themes such as resilience, working in a team, adapting to change, breaking gender stereotypes and stepping outside the comfort zone. Bonnie enjoys connecting with a range of different people, from elite athletes and business professionals to community sporting groups. When not in the ocean or holding a microphone, Bonnie coaches nippers at her local surf club on the Gold Coast, Mermaid Beach.