A Gold Coast ironwoman on a 10,000km surf ski mission around the country has spoken of how selfless West Australians saved her from potential disaster as she made her way past the State’s south. Bonnie Hancock — a household name in surf life saving circles — headed south from Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast on December 19 with the aim of circumnavigating Australia in her surf ski in just six months. A successful journey would make Hancock the youngest, and fastest, person to achieve the incredible feat. But with sunlight fading on Sunday as she passed the 5000km mark and with her support jet ski running out of fuel, Hancock’s husband Matt put out a call for help to anyone near the seaside town of Preston Beach. “It was the first day I had done with a jet ski for a couple of months; normally I have a 38-foot catamaran with me,” Hancock said. “We had a situation where I was doing 80km (for the day) and we had been carrying some extra fuel on the jet ski, but by the time we got to (Preston Beach) the fuel was extremely low. Hancock said when they made it ashore, there were about 20 locals ready to do whatever they could. “We hit the beach in the dark and all fell off the jet ski and had to get some of the locals who were having a picnic down there to bring the jet ski up the beach,” she said. “It was pitch-black dark at that stage and about 12 of the local community came down to the beach to help us get the jet ski on to the trailer and got my surf ski up. “Then the car got bogged with the jet ski on it and the Preston Beach local community was incredible again.” After sorting out the chaos, some locals offered up spare rooms for the former champion ironwoman and her crew to stay, even offering accommodation for them in Perth after their next leg. “We were so lucky because we didn’t really have a plan before, so we absolutely struck gold with these lovely, generous and beautiful people,” Ms Hancock said. “It was amazing to have that sense of community because we have pretty much been at sea for two months now, so it was cool to meet some new people and get that help.” The champion ironwoman, who competed in the Nutri-Grain Series for more than a decade, entered WA waters recently after she was hospitalised from two rough weeks crossing the Great Australian Bight. Hancock said one of the most exciting parts of her journey had been completing the southern leg and turning north towards Perth before stopping for a night at Eagle Bay. “It was super cool, we were out in the middle of the ocean and the skipper said ‘are you ready to turn right?’ and we literally made a physical right turn around the Cape,” she said. “We got some of the best runners and surfed some of the most amazing swells that I have ever caught in my life. “We’re absolutely loving Western Australia, the sunsets have been incredible, for many of us this has been the leg we’ve been looking forward to.” The journey is called Paddle Of Aus and Hancock is raising money for Gotcha4Life, a Sydney based charity with the aim of reducing the number of suicides to zero. “They’re all about mateship and having that support around you, and that’s been so important for me during this paddle,” Hancock said. “I have eight people around me supporting me every day, it’s incredible and ties into the bigger picture of what we’re working towards as well. “There’s no way I would have been able to get over here and paddle 5000 km to WA on my own.” As for her chances of becoming the youngest and fastest person to paddle around Australia, Hancock said there was still a way to go, but she was well placed and ahead of schedule. “After the second week, I was in absolute agony, but I feel far better now than I ever have throughout this whole paddle,” she said. “The first couple of weeks were really tough, my lower body was aching every day and I questioned whether or not I would be able to make it. “There are definitely days with the back-to-back 100km plus days where you feel very fatigued and very sore, but I’m feeling better now than I did in the first month, so it has been really cool to see that physical adaptation.” The current record for the journey is 10-and-a-half months, but Hancock is aiming to do it in six months.