3 May 2023

Kiwi Jono Ridler sets new ultra-distance marathon swim record after 33 hours in the water

From Checkpoint, 5:50 pm on 3 May 2023

Jono Ridler has set a new record for New Zealand's ultra-distance marathon swims, after more than 33 hours in the water.

Ridler landed at Campbell's Bay on Auckland's North Shore after he set off from Aotea Great Barrier Island at 10am on Tuesday.

While the official distance Ridler swan was still to be verified, he had swam more than the 80.8km needed to break the record.

Fueled by donuts and meatballs while out in the water, Ridler undertook the swim to inspire urgent action to protect and restore the health of the Hauraki Gulf.

From the support boat just before 6pm on Wednesday, 32 hours into the journey, supporter Hamish Willcox told Checkpoint the sea was rough.

"There's obviously incredible fatigue going on and I have no idea what must be going on in his head - one can only imagine - but he's feeding well...he's coping with these massive waves which are up to 2 metres and this wind which has been almost 20 to 30 knots all day."

"No one here in the support crew can believe what he's done and what he's going through and what he's proceeded with, he's just an extraordinary young man."

His last snack had been a donut, Willcox.

"I'm not 100 percent on that but there's a lot of powdered stuff going down - and it's not white powder."

Ridler was being constantly watched though the support crew has to be careful not to touch him and jeopardise his work.

"He's done an incredible job, obviously a huge passion for the Gulf is what's driving him to this incredible attempt and I know that he's gonna be stoked with all the support he's received."