8 Epic Beards on 8 Epic Adventurers

A once-in-a-lifetime journey is the perfect time to grow a huge beard — these are some of the best.
Sean Conway and his massive red beard
Is this the new king of beards? We think so © Brock Elbank
By Josh Sampiero

In the world of adventure, there's not often time for grooming. When you're spending energy exploring — rowing across the Atlantic, surfing in the dead of winter, running across America — the last thing you worry about is shaving. An adventurer's unkempt beard can become a physical representation of the miles he's logged and the experiences he's had. Here are eight great beards attached to eight people who've done truly remarkable things. 

1. The big red beard

Who: South African adventurer Sean Conway (seen above)
Beard style: Big, bushy and red
Why he's cool: Conway's endurance feats of legend include much more than dealing with itchy facial hair for long periods of time — he's swam, biked and run from John O'Groats to Land's End in the UK (that's 870 miles).

Icicles on the beard of a surfer in Indiana
Brad Tunis sports an epic ice beard © Mike Killion/Red Bull Illume

2. The 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 grow 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 [Tunis] was. This was after a few hours of surfing small, glassy, waist to chest high waves and he had come in to get warm."

Please note: He said a few hours.

Snowboarder Pat Moore with a big beard
Pat Moore has more awesome facial hair than you do © Blueprint2/Red Bull Content Pool

3. The classic lumberjack beard

Who: Snowboarder Pat Moore from New Hampshire
Beard style: "The Paul Bunyan"
Reasons to be jealous: Moore — who grew up in one of the areas where Paul Bunyan allegedly lived — is a snowboarder through and through. But he's not just an ordinary shredder — he's tackled some of the biggest lines in the sport. Check him out in the "Blueprint 2" series, exploring the Alaskan backcountry.

Patrick Sweeney after his run
This is one epic beard, on one epic runner © Stan Evans

4. The "Real Forrest Gump" beard

Who: Runner 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). His beard — which he shaved the day before his trip began — grew into the luscious mane you see above.

5. The "Naked Guy" beard

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 little more than shoes, shorts and, of course, his beard. A two-time winner of the legendary Leadville 100 ultramarathon, he's also a climber and backcountry skier. He's almost never seen without his facial hair.

 6. The beard that crossed 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, selected for his epic Atlantic crossing. Making it more impressive, Doba was past retirement age when he did it — 67 years old. Although he was bearded when he began, there's a stark difference between his neatly coiffed look at the beginning of the trip and the images you see here, after five months at sea.

Alex Bellini and his fearsome beard
Alex Bellini knows a thing or two about beards © Mauro Talamonti

7. The endurance beard

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 at the top. He's also run across America and paddled across the Atlantic — twice. We'd say that qualifies him as an epic adventurer — and that beast on his face definitely qualifies as an epic beard. We would not mess with this guy.

8. The runner's beard

Who: Long-distance runner Jamie Ramsay
Beard style: Natural, rugged style
Why he’s awesome: Look at that grin! Ramsay, a Brit, decided to embark on a solo run from Vancouver to Buenos Aires — that's more than 11,000 miles! He runs an average of 25 miles a day and plans on finishing next spring. He is still going strong and has developed a wild beard in the process.

Looking for another epic beard? Check out the one growing on "The Iron Cowboy."

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