Kayaker paddles into the record books

·1-min read

Kayaker Bonnie Hancock has paddled her way into Australian sporting history, claiming two world records after a gruelling 254 day journey at sea.

The 32-year-old set a record for the fastest circumnavigation of mainland Australia by paddle and the longest 24-hour paddle.

She battled crocodiles, sharks, hypothermia and waves as high as six metres before completing the 12,700 kilometre voyage on Sunday in waters off the Gold Coast.

Her achievements will be assessed by the Guinness World Records.

"This 254 day journey has been life-changing," she said in a statement on Sunday.

"(It) has been far tougher, but also far more incredible, that I could have ever imagined.

"The first month, my back felt like breaking every day, but I knew the only way was forward. I knew my body was going to become conditioned to the extremes.

"My will to complete this outweighed any pain."

The ironwoman and dietitian started paddling in December and is the fifth person to complete the journey by ski or kayak.

The Ironwoman has so far raised $70,000 for mental health charity Gotcha 4 Life.

"The goal to do the fastest circumnavigation became my secondary focus as I went on," she said.

"Gotcha4Life and raising money for mental fitness really gave me the motivation to continue."

Highlights include paddling with dolphins off Port Lincoln, exploring caves surrounded by seals and coming close to a humpback whale and her calf.

She also experienced some incredible lows. She endured non-stop sea sickness during a gruelling 17 day passage across the Great Australian Bight which ended with her being treated in hospital for dehydration and exhaustion.

She was followed by a film crew who also provided food, medical help and kept her motivated.