33-year-old Aucklander Jono Ridler achieved a record non-stop ultra-distance open water swim from Karaka Bay, Aotea Great Barrier Island to Campbells Bay, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.
Over 33+ hours Jono pushed himself to the absolute limits and completed his journey from Great Barrier Island to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland with the mission of raising awareness around the health of the Hauraki Gulf. He is the ultimate ocean champion, in every sense of the word.
Jono’s unprecedented attempt at the 100km open water swim tested the limits of human endurance and was driven by a personal desire to inspire urgent action to protect and restore the health of the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi.
In 2021 the Government announced a plan that conservation groups hailed as a good first step towards turning the health of the Gulf around, but nearly two years on any changes are yet to come into effect. The swim acknowledges the significance and value of the Gulf, and also acts as a call to Government to move now to protect and restore it.
Live Ocean founders and sailors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling welcome Jono as a fellow ocean athlete who, like them, is using his voice to help drive action for a healthy ocean.
“The platform of sport is a powerful way to bring more people around important issues, so it’s awesome to welcome Jono into the Live Ocean whānau. It’s an unreal challenge and it’s going to raise real awareness for what’s happening below the surface here in the Gulf. This used to be one of the great coastal ecosystems of the world and it’s a heart-breaking to see the state it’s in.”
BLAIR TUKE, LIVE OCEAN FOUNDER
ABOUT JONO AND THE RECORD ATTEMPT
Jono is one of ten to have conquered New Zealand’s ‘Triple Crown’ of marathon swimming – the west Aucklander swum 23km crossing Cook Strait in 2019, 40.4km up Lake Taupo in 2020, and 28.6km crossing Foveaux Strait in 2021. His Swim4TheGulf attempt is more than twice the distance of his longest ocean swim to date, further than all ‘triple crown’ swims combined, and took over 33 hours.
Jono surpassed New Zealand’s current record which stands at the 80.8km double crossing of Lake Taupo and will be marked as the longest continuous solo-unassisted open-water swim recorded in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Departing in in optimal tide and weather conditions on 2 May 2023, Jono left from Karaka Bay on the north-western coast of Great Barrier Island. Setting off mid-morning Jono swam throughout the night, and the following day, arriving at Campbells Bay in Auckland after sunset the following day.
Jono adhered to the rules set out by the Marathon Swimmers Federation for solo-unassisted open-water marathon swims which means he swam without a wetsuit, and was restricted to using a set of standard equipment.
“Jono’s route will take him through some of the most beautiful and under-pressure parts of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. His starting point, Aotea Great Barrier Island, is battling a recent invasive seaweed infestation; then around Hauturu Little Barrier Island where out-of-control kina are grazing down the last kelp forests. In the inner Gulf fishing pressure and pollutants washing off land are creating dead zones. Jono’s swim will not only highlight the issues but also give us hope that we have the capacity to do more and do better than we have in the past. We need much more marine protection and restoration to ensure a healthier Hauraki Gulf for the future.” – ALEX ROGERS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE HAURAKI GULF FORUM