It goes almost without saying: beards are often an indicator of awesomeness – and in the world of adventure, you'll find some particularly awesome ones. After all, it makes sense: having an adventure – like rowing across the Atlantic – often means conveniences like shaving play second fiddle to things like rowing, and, you know, eating. Here's seven awesome beards attached to people we think are even more awesome.
Of course, you also have the beard of the Iron Cowboy...
1. Sean Conway and his big red beard
Who: South African adventurer Sean Conway
Beard style: Big, bushy, and red
Why he's cool: Conway's endurance feats of legend include much more than simply dealing with itchy facial hair for incredibly long periods of time – he's swam, biked and run from John O'Groats to Land's End in the UK (that's 1,400 km.)
2. This icy snow-beard
Who: Surfer Brad Tunis, seen here in Indiana
Beard style: Freezing cold
Why he's awesome: We're pretty sure the pic says it all – surfing? In Lake Michigan? In winter? With that kind of dedication, we're sure Tunis could manhandle any kind of beard. Photographer Mike Killion – who submitted this shot to Red Bull Illume in 2010 – says "We're used to getting ice on our wetsuit or face in the winter while surfing Lake Michigan, but I'd never seen anyone as covered as Brad was. This was after a few hours of surfing small, glassy, waist to chest high waves and Brad had come in to get warm."
Please note: he said a few hours.
3. The classic lumberjack
Who: Snowboarder Pat Moore from New Hampshire, USA
Beard style: Let's call this the Paul Bunyan
Reasons to be jealous: Pat – who grew up around one of the areas Paul Bunyan was claimed to have lived – is a snowboarder through and through. But he's not just any shredder – he's tackled some of the biggest lines in the sport. Check 'im out in the Blueprint 2 series, exploring the Alaskan backcountry.
4. The real Forrest Gump
Who: Real-life Forrest Gump, Patrick Sweeney
Beard style: Simple, rustic, sexy
Why he's awesome: The often-barefoot runner completed an epic run across America earlier this year – sleeping in jail cells (willingly) and even getting shot at (not willingly.) The beard – which he shaved the day before his trip – grew into this luscious mane you see above.
5. ‘The Naked Guy’ Anton Krupicka
Who: Famous endurance runner Anton Krupicka
Beard style: New-age mountain man
Why he's awesome: Krupicka gained fame for living out of his truck in the high Colorado mountains – and running in not much else but shoes, shorts and, of course, beard. A two-time winner of the legendary Leadville 100 ultra-marathon, he's also a climber and backcountry skier. And essentially never seen without his facial hair.
6. This guy’s beard after crossing the Atlantic...
Who: Aleksander Doba, Polish trans-Atlantic paddler
Beard style: Unkempt ocean voyager
Why he's awesome: Aleksander Doba, also known as Olek, was the People's Choice Nat Geo Adventurer Of The Year, chosen for his epic Atlantic crossing. Making it more impressive? Doba was well past retirement age when he did it – 67 years old. While he was bearded when he began, there's a stark difference from his neatly-coiffed look at the beginning of the trip to the images you see here, after five months at sea.
7. Endurance adventurer Alex Bellini
Who: Alex Bellini, who might be the craziest person on the planet
Beard style: Full
Why he's awesome: The list of reasons is long – but his plan to live on an iceberg until it melts is probably top. He's also run across America and paddled across the Atlantic – twice. We'd say that qualifies him as an adventurer – and that beast on his face definitely qualifies as an epic beard. Would not mess with this guy.
8. Jamie is running
Who: Long-distance runner, Jamie Ramsay
Beard style: Natural, rugged style
Why he’s awesome: Look at that grin! Brit Jamie, decided to embark on a solo run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires - that's 18,000km! He runs an average of 40km a day and should to finish in Spring next year. He is still going strong and has developed this wild beard in the process.