I am Ryan Stramrood a South African, Small Business Owner, Family Man and Average Joe.
However my hobby is Ultra Extreme Open Water and Ice swimming, and for deeply personal reasons, I have undertaken some of the world’s most extreme challenges. Pushing my limits and human boundaries in our planet’s most inhospitable places.
Following painful, pioneering training techniques and using what limited resources I can nd to put basic safety procedures in place, I challenge myself by pushing personal limits for swimming in ice water, and often set new benchmarks for human endurance.
No wetsuits or protection from the cold water – Speedo’s only. Ryan Stramrood adventures, world 1st achievements and the often death-defying circumstances, make for brilliant tales of human spirit and victory.
I take my audiences on a journey with me. Through storytelling and strong visuals, I illustrate just how limited and governed we all are, in every aspect of our lives, by believing in our own limitations.
How we underachieve in our comfort zones and how each and everyone of us can push past impossible.
As the founding members of the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA), Ryan Stramrood wanted to achieve an official world 1st Ice Mile south of the Antarctic Circle.
As one of the three who completed the challenge, out of the six making the attempt, the lessons Ryan Stramrood learned from pushing myself so far beyond what nearly everyone believed to be impossible, have helped me to understand the power of the human mind and it’s propensity to hold us back.
The psychological anxiety from the Leopard Seal’s we stood to encounter on this challenge, on top of an impossible distance in minus 1°C water, made this a pivotal challenge for me and the focus of my primary keynote talk.
After establishing the International Ice Swimming Association (IISA), three of the South African founding members were invited to partake in an event in Tyumen, Siberia.
Still new to the challenge of ice swimming, the team arrived to meet MINUS 33 °C ambient temps, a very curious local media and a truly petrifying situation as we stood on the side of the 25m “pools” which were cut into a frozen lake.
This has been one of the best stories and adventures to date. A 24hr whirlwind of emotion and mental conquering. A journey from “This is impossible” all the way to SUCCESSFULLY accomplishing the 1km distance.
Ryan Stramrood represented South Africa in a WORLD FIRST two-way relay attempt to cross the notoriously di cult North Channel; Swimming from Ireland to Scotland and then back to Ireland, a total distance of 70km in 12 degree C water temperatures.
Against massive odds and going against the expert advice, the team had to make di cult decisions prior to their attempt.
They faced unbelievable challenges in the icy waters, as a result of the poor weather, extreme distance and the violent Lions Main jelly sh poisoning which ravaged the team.
The double crossing took just over 29hrs for the 6-person team which was made up of swimmers from Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Czech Republic and South Africa. Jokulsarlon, Iceland is certainly one of the most unique swims Ryan Stramrood has done.
The goal was different. It was a TV production which required a different discipline, shoots, re-shoots, dialogue, multiple entry, much exposure and the rudimentary recovery facility of a warm van.
But again, a reminder as to just how deadly exposure to ice water is, how focused the mind needs to be to extend a period and to perform physically in these temperatures. How quickly one starts to believe in one’s own limitations – a mental defense mechanism with which Ryan Stramrood is so familiar.
How profoundly the body reacts and the speed of its shut down. How painful the recovery process is and, of course, how unbelievably exhilarating the feeling is once the body returns to normal temperature and how the adrenaline pumps through Ryan Stramrood veins.