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The Fastest & Youngest Person to Paddle Around Australia


The comfort zone is a beautiful place. But nothing grows inside it


34-year-old Bonnie Hancock recently broke the Guinness World Record for fastest person to circumnavigate mainland Australia by paddle. 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, Bonnie qualified in the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series, completing seven years on the professional circuit. After finishing her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics Degree, Bonnie decided to focus on ski paddling, medalling at the Queensland State and Australian Championships in her first year of doing so.

In 2020, Bonnie was inspired by 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, breaking the previous Guinness World Record by over two months.

Bonnie also broke the Guinness World Record for furthest distance paddled in 24 hours (open ocean) by a female, completing 235 kms on her surf ski at Airlie Beach.

In 2024, Bonnie published her memoir about the circumnavigation, titled “The Girl Who Touched The Stars” through Harper Collins. She also premiered her documentary “Diamond Of The Sea” at the Gold Coast Film Festival, after which the film was released nationally on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.

Bonnie now enjoys sharing her journey as a keynote speaker, and in November 2023, presented a TED talk in Paris.

Outline of Achievements:

- 2 x Guinness World Records: Fastest person to circumnavigate Australia by paddle (12,700km in 254 days) and Longest distance paddled in 24 hours open ocean by a female (235 kilometres)

- Memoir “The Girl Who Touched The Stars” published by Harper Collins in February, 2024

- Documentary “Diamond Of The Sea” premiered at the Gold Coast Film Festival in April 2024, and in May was released on Kayo and Foxtel

- TED talk performed in Paris, 2023

Talking Points


Resilience isn’t something we are born with. It is built. And it isn’t achieved alone. Vulnerability and teamwork are two key components of resilience, yet are often overlooked. By tapping into the power of vulnerability and surrounding ourselves with a world/beating team, we can build a sense of resilience to see us through life’s inevitable challenges


Mother Nature is the ultimate teacher in the power of adaptability. In being prepared to adapt plans to cater for unforeseen challenges, we can achieve a sense of freedom and empowerment and discover our full potential

Growth Mindset

How do we change our mindset to see challenges as an opportunity for learning and growth? By adopting a growth mindset, we open ourselves up to a whole new realm of exciting possibilities
I want to thank Bonnie Hancock for speaking at our recent Senior Leadership team conference. Her presentation had a profound impact on everyone in the room. Bonnie's incredible journey as a former professional ironwoman who paddled around Australia on a surf ski reminded us that the impossible is possible. I highly recommend Bonnie as a speaker for any event seeking to motivate individuals to exceed their perceived limits. Her ability to engage and inspire the audience was remarkable. Bonnie's genuine passion and unwavering belief in the human spirit created an empowering atmosphere. We are grateful for her contribution and the lasting impact of her story Hipages

Highly recommend Bonnie. Her life achievements so far are incredible and this allows her to be able to motivate and inspire others in all facets of their personal and professional lives.

Geodis Wilson Australia
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