Born in Cape Town, Ryan Stramrood is an extreme sportsman who adopted open water distance swimming as his sport of choice in 2003 and he has completed some of the world's toughest cold water and distance swims.
After his first Robben Island-Blouberg crossing in 2003, Ryan quickly stamped his mark on the sport by successfully completing the notorious English Channel swim in 2008 on his first attempt.
Ryan currently holds 50 Robben Island crossings, including a tough two-way island crossing and is a founding member of the International Ice Swimming Association (IICA).
To this day, Ryan insists that he is an 'Average Joe' and he proves that you don't need to be anything beyond ordinary to achieve what most people have deemed impossible; you simply need the motivation to take the first step and the confidence to complete it.
His motivational talks follow his incredible journeys and experiences as a long distance swimmer and his transformation into a record-setting ice swimmer.
So how did it all start for Ryan?
Ryan has been speaking for less than a year: "Fresh and polished"
, as he puts it.
His sister, Gill, (his biggest fan and manager) encouraged him to pursue the professional speaking route along with his friends, family and anyone who has heard his stories. "I push body, mind and mankind's limits in icy places around the world... It is only in the last year that I have started to publicly tell my story and show the incredible visuals of these expeditions."
By day, Ryan owns a successful advertising sales operation and he believes that while he is not a professional speaker, he speaks professionally... "Audiences, without fail, take huge inspiration from the authentic stories that I tell and the amateur footage to bring my tales to life."
With that being said, he loves telling his stories: "At first seeing how the audience grapples with the concept of why and how I have achieved what I have, the initial disbelief and then shortly followed by total inspiration as the visuals and video brings the message together. Great feeling. And no embellishing needed,"
The one thing that Ryan dislikes about speaking professionally, is that he has to be paid to tell his story: "Somehow, I feel less authentic as I do my challenges and push my boundaries for deeply personal reasons. Speaking came later but some funds are channelled to charity, so there is a feel-good factor, too."
He believes that 'authenticity'
is his secret formula to success; his stubbornness and his unique story have helped him to succeed in a field where so many have failed. "I 'Push Past Impossible'"