Jono Ridler Swims 80km to Protect the Hauraki Gulf

Open water endurance swimmer Jono Ridler completed a record-breaking 80km and 33-hour swim from Aotea Great Barrier Island to Campbell's Bay on Auckland's North Shore on April 25th. 

The Ridler Swim4TheGulf was executed in partnership with Live Ocean, who are proudly supported by Donovan Group. Donovan Group supports Live Ocean as we are passionate about taking care of our marine ecosystems and protecting them for years to come. With offices in the coastal locations of Takapuna and Whangarei, we’ve always held the ocean close to our heart. 

Ridler left from Karaka Bay, Aotea, Great Barrier Island at 10am on the morning of Tuesday 2nd May in an attempt to break the New Zealand record for the longest non-stop open water unassisted swim. Just over 33 hours later he walked ashore at Campbells Bay on Auckland’s north shore having faced deteriorating conditions with increasing winds and sea state across day two of the swim. He’d well exceeded the standing record of 80.8km with the process of ratification still underway to determine the actual point to point distance to go down in the history books. 

For Ridler, Swim4Gulf was created to draw attention to the declining state of the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi. The 33-year-old says he’s been humbled and heartened by the support and interest his swim generated.

“I wanted to make this swim bigger than me,” says Ridler. “What I’d like to see marked in history is that Swim4TheGulf helped inspire a turning point for the Hauraki Gulf, to bring it back to a thriving and flourishing marine ecosystem.”

“The extent to which Swim4TheGulf really captured people’s attention outstripped my wildest hopes. It’s highlighted for me that so many others feel the same way I do - I’m not the only New Zealander who wants to leave my children and grandchildren with a healthy and productive ocean.”

Alex Rogers, Hauraki Gulf Forum Chief Executive says he, like the rest of New Zealand, was glued to the Swim4TheGulf live tracker for the duration of Ridler’s 33-hour non-stop, no-wetsuit swim.

“Like everyone else I was transfixed until he came ashore at Campbells Bay.”

“Jono has shown us what courage and determination looks like. We need to see that same level of ambition from the government when it comes to the Gulf. We know that New Zealanders overwhelmingly support the creation of new marine protected areas in the Gulf as well as getting rid of antiquated fishing practices like dredging. It’s time to get it done,” says Rogers.

This is an amazing achievement for Jono and Live Ocean, and Donovan Group are proud to be a part of the push behind this effort. 

How can you support Live Ocean? 

On the 22nd of June, Live Ocean is hosting a mid-winter dip. Jump into the icy waters on the shortest day of the year to make noise around the need for a healthy ocean. It will be hosted at Milford Beach, we can’t wait to see you all!

If you want to learn more about Live Ocean and what they’re working towards, visit their website here: Live Ocean | Action For The Ocean - Live Ocean 

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