Skinstad brother overcame odds

Duncan Reyneke

PERSEVERANCE and making the most of challenges is crucial to living a fulfilled life, according to adventure documentary maker Dan Skinstad, brother of rugby great Bob Skinstad.

Skinstad, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was speaking at a Business Women’s Association (BWA) meeting in Nelson Mandela Bay last night.

He was the subject of an adventure documentary which took him and partner Riaan Manser kayaking around the coast of Iceland.

Skinstad likened the pressure to perform during his expedition to the pressure on businesswomen to “measure up” in male-dominated corporate fields. “When I left for the trip, the odds were clearly against me.

“People don’t think someone with a disability can do these sorts of things. With women in business, it’s a different kind of adversity, but it’s still very much a part of it. There’s a lot of pressure.”

Alongside Manser, an accomplished solo adventurer, Skinstad took to the sub-arctic island’s coastal waters in March last year for a gruelling 2000km journey.

“Iceland is the harshest and at the same time most beautiful landscape anywhere,” he said.

“Looking back, I could have never prepared enough for it. Sometimes, feeling out of your depth in a situation leaves you with no choice but to just get it done. That’s what happened with me.”

The expedition came about after Skinstad finished his law degree at Stellenbosch University last year. He had made a decision three years earlier to change his personal outlook on life and undertook to do something extremely physical after graduating.

This surge of motivation did not end once the journey was over, though. Since completing his trip in September last year, Skinstad has been delivering motivational speeches around the country, focusing on the value of hard work and determination.

Skinstad is focusing on growing his career in law.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, adventure doesn’t pay.”

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