Jono Ridler, 0-dark-30, April 3, 2022, Matapouri Bay, NZ.
This haunting photo was taken yesterday by one of my swimming friends as she set out to spend ~14 hours in a boat, supporting Jono’s attempt to swim nonstop out to the Poor Knights Islands and back. From here, he turned around, fought through the waves breaking on shore, and swam off into the darkness.
Jono follows a set of rules originally designed to standardize the times logged by English Channel swimmers. No wetsuit, no touching the pilot boat, etc. You do get to put on a layer of grease which provides a mixture of sun and water protection… but I’m sure he was still pretty pruney at the end. In an out and back swim like this, you’re normally allowed 10 minutes on land at the midpoint. But landing on the Poor Knights is forbidden, and there’s no benefit in treading water for 10 minutes, so he just turned around and kept going.
As far as anybody knows, this is the first time that particular swim has been done, so he’s now the record-holder, 13 hours and change of effort that will be remembered. Objectively I know there are people who can swim farther and faster than Jono, but not very many. And having seen him cruise past me while I was swimming hard and he was doing a one-arm technique drill, he’s plenty fast enough for me to remain in a state of perpetual admiration. And although I’ve never heard him brag about it, I know he has done good work fundraising and inspiring others with these swims.
Congrats and well done Jono!