In Last months issue of the Magazine, we covered a story about two people who are busy circumnavigating Iceland in a kayak. Here is an update of their story!!

Riaan Manser performs bold rescue of Dan Skinstad”

Riaan Manser and Dan Skinstad have survived their most traumatic experience thus far on day 38 of their kayak expedition around Iceland. The pair’s kayak succumbed to the 50km/h gale force winds and large waves, resulting in both Dan and Riaan falling into the rough seas.

Dan, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, was separated from Riaan and the kayak in a matter of seconds. The strong currents carried him away from the kayak, sweeping him in the opposite direction to Riaan, who at this point had to fight lashing winds so he could get to Dan.

Premium beer brand Windhoek Lager has partnered with Windhoek brand ambassador, Riaan Manser, to circumnavigate Iceland by kayak. Riaan is travelling with a kayak partner for the first time and the journey will see him and Dan set a record of the first two South Africans to paddle around the island’s arctic waters by kayak. They embarked on their journey on 16 March 2011.

Riaan and Dan hope to conquer the entire coastline of 4800km on a kayak without aid, and are relying on their survival instincts to source food and water, restore any potential damage their kayak may incur and negotiate the many challenges the gruelling weather conditions bring.

Earlier this week, the pair experienced some of this when Dan was swept 300m from the kayak and at times, lost from Riaan’s sight.  With years of experience, Riaan had to tap into his strength to turn the 6m kayak into the prevailing wind and save Dan. At this point, Dan had already been in the 1°C water for five minutes.

Shaken but not beaten

With their enthusiasm and goal to become the first two South African’s to circumnavigate Iceland by kayak still firmly in place, the relieved yet exhausted duo then paddled an additional two hours to reach a suitable docking spot near the town of Seydisfjordur.

Mark von Bentheim, marketing manager of the Windhoek trademark in South Africa said: “This was a big scare for us. We all knew the dangers that would be involved in undertaking an expedition of this nature but supported it as we know that Riaan is a seasoned adventurer.

“We are also comforted by the fact that the risks that Dan and Riaan are taking on this trip are minimised by their expedition kits which include the bright yellow dry suits, which possibly helped to save the day with Riaan spotting Dan in the water.  They also have a GPS mapping device on-board which relays their position to the coast guard every 10 minutes and can also send out an SOS signal if required. We are happy and relieved that they are both safe and wish them best of luck for the next leg of the trip.”


An even stronger team to the finish line


Dan was badly shaken after the ordeal but is confident enough to continue the expedition with the support and motivation from Riaan’s personal experience as a seasoned solo adventurer. Dan and Riaan have come out stronger having overcome this ordeal and Riaan Manser commented: “There are no guidebooks on how to execute a rescue on an expedition like this, but the methodology is simple: do whatever it takes to save the life of your partner and get him back into the kayak.”

The pair will continue on their plans finish paddling through the East cost of Iceland and then on to the south.

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