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).
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.
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.
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.
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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