Date with the Strait Success!

Datewiththestrait2Australian world champion board paddlers Zeb Walsh (30), Brad Gaul (35) were joined by 19 year-old Californian paddling prodigy Jack Bark, when they took on the 300km herculean effort padding from Victoria to Tasmania in March in a bid to raise funds and awareness about Tangaroa Blue Foundation and marine debris in our oceans.

Named A Date with The Strait, this world first paddle has required years of planning and research for the paddlers who have each claimed world titles at the grueling 53km Molokai2Oahu world championship paddle race in Hawaii (The Molokai).

On March 5th at 6.10pm, Brad, Jack & Zeb landed at Petal Point in NE Tasmania with friends & family there to welcome them. The boys had to make a quick decision to paddle the last two days in one session covering 65km from Long Island with bad weather on the way. 

Final Leg"This Bass Strait paddle is the equivalent to six Molokai2Oahu races back-to-back, and we needed to paddle between 35 - 60kms a day" explains Walsh.

The athletes used CyberTrackers to report on ocean debris in Bass Strait to support Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Australian Marine Debris Initiative which locates marine debris hotspots, identifies their contents and measures their density.

"We live our lives in and around the ocean so we're proud that we are paddling to help raise awareness about the importance of looking after them," said Sydney-based Gaul.

Paddling on their knees on 12ft paddleboards with only arm strength to power them, the althletes helped contribute valuable data to the program which Tangaroa Blue Foundation will then use to track the litter back to its source and create Source Reduction Plans.

"If all we ever do is clean-up, that's all we'll ever do - there needs to be more focus on ways of reducing waste, reducing single-use plastic and preventing it from entering the environment in the first place," says Gaul.

The athletes were accompanied by an escort boat with a support and navigation crew who helped keep the paddlers on line and provide hydration as they paddled from Refuge Cove, Wilson's Promontory to Tasmania stopping to camp at Hogan, Deal and Flinders Islands.

During the trip, the paddlers raised close to $2,000 for Tangaroa Blue and if you would like to support their efforts, you can still donate at www.tangaroablue.org or Facebook page.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported and donated to this amazing trip and a huge congratulations to Zeb, Brad and Jack for successfully completing this world first attempt to paddle across Bass Strait!

To check out more images of the marathon trip, check out A Date With The Strait and to see the Today Show's interview with the boys visit http://youtu.be/BTgi-5siI0A