Bass Strait, Everest of the Sea

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 08:37 | Written by  kristy theissling
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Jarad Kohler Jarad Kohler

Eight surf ski paddlers to cross Bass Strait in world first.

Eight paddlers from Melbourne, Australia are attempting a World First next week: a crossing of the Bass Strait on racing surfskis.

Jarad Kohler, preparing for the Bass Strait

Jarad Kohlar, 27, of Newport,  Emma Croser, 33, of Altona, Brendon Grail, 40, of Princes Hill and Richard Jennings, 44, of Hawthorn, are part of the team of eight.

The paddlers will depart northern Tasmania next Wednesday April 7, and cross the treacherous Banks Strait first, before island hopping all the way to Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, aiming for an arrival of Wednesday April 14, weather dependent.

The expedition, dubbed ‘Bass Strait, Everest of the Sea’, is a world first.  Expedition leader and Australian Adventure Racing champion Jarad Kohlar is one of several people who have crossed Bass Strait in a sea kayak, but no-one has ever attempted the crossing on a racing surf ski.


All eight paddlers have been training for months to prepare for the expedition, regularly hitting the beach at Sandridge in Melbourne before sun up.

“It has been a life-long dream of mine to paddle across Bass Strait on a racing surf ski.  By shedding all of the weight of a sea kayak, we’re able to paddle much quicker and with less energy, enabling us to spend a few hours each day picking up rubbish from the remote beaches we stop at along the way. ” said Kohlar.

Bass Strait

Where is the Bass Strait?  It's that purple bit between Australia and Tasmania

Beach cleanups will also be undertaken by the group of eight paddlers each day during the expedition will contribute to Surfrider Foundation Australia’s National Marine Debris Initiative, which aims at empowering communities and individuals to participate in cleanups and monitors the rubbish they find through a National database.

Pristine Islands

Paddler and environmental scientist Richard Jennings said, “There’s lots of people who are not familiar with the spectacularly pristine islands dotted throughout Bass Strait, and I’m particularly interested to see if there is a link between the litter we discover on these remote island beaches and the litter that flows from Victorian storm water drains and rivers.”

Bass Strait Islands

Bass Strait Islands

The paddlers aim to raise $20,000 in Donations for Surfrider Foundation Australia. Surfrider Foundation is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of Australia’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through CARE: Conservation, Activism, Research and Education.

Paddlers will face extreme conditions including ocean swells of 6 metres, as April generally attracts growing swells and cooler weather. A growing voice of online supporters will be sending them wishes through their online portal and blog updated throughout their journey at and Twitter.

Surfrider Foundation Australia & Peak Adventure partner for Bass Strait Everest of the Sea Expedition. Thank you to sponsors: Keen, 2XU, Outer Edge and expedition partner Sustainability Victoria.



Follow the expedition on Twitter at:


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