Beard of the Month July 2015 – Joe Ledley

Joe Ledley 4The new saviour of Welsh football. No, not Gareth Bale…

Ledley’s beard has been in development for a while , but is now truly reaching great heights.

Joe Ledley 2

He can pull off cool and stylish…Joe-LedleyOr rugged and active. Basically, the man has it all.

Ledley was a key part of a Wales team that beat Belgium in a European Championships Qualifier and helped Crystal Palace to an amazing 11th place finish in the Premier League.Joe Ledley 3He’s even got time to be a family man and show off hats.

And in true legendary status, his beard has it’s own twitter account. Follow @JoeLedleysBeard!

Beard of the Month June 2015 – Sean Conway

Sean Conway

Sean Conway is not your typical sportsman. Then again, he’s not your typical man. If we can put the beard aside for just a second (don’t worry, it won’t be long), how many of us have been sick and tired with the daily grind but never done anything about it?

Sean Conway did something about it.

He sold his business and decided adventuring was more his thing. After cycling the world, he decided to become the first person to complete a Britain triathlon. That’s Britain end to end by bike, running and swimming. BeardWatch looked on in awe as he completed his swim, and the triathlon is finally complete with an excellent documentary series on the Discovery channel to boot.

Sean Conway 3Back to the beard (phew). Not only was it grown for obvious sexy reasons, but also to keep jellyfish from stinging his face whilst swimming up the Irish Sea. Now it’s become something of a trademark and we can only hope it stays with him on more crazy adventures.

Sean Conway 2As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also cycled from London to Paris in 24hours, walked from Cheltenham to London for less than £8 a day, cycled to the Alps, and kayaked the Thames. What a hero.

Sean Conway 4

Not an obvious sports beard icon; strictly speaking it might not even be sport in the competitive sense, but his adventures have inspired men and women across Britain to get on their bike, jump in the pool or go out for a run. And grow beards.

Check out his website: seanconway.com and follow on twitter: @Conway_Sean

Innovative Beard Cap Is Created For The Bearded Nation

Having done research, we’re pretty sure this isn’t a wind-up…

Virgin Trains has launched an innovative swim cap for bearded men – the Beard Cap – which will be trialled with customers competing at the Great North Swim, Lake Windermere, June 12 – 14, 2015. The unique Lycra prototype extends down to wrap under the chin and packs the beard against the face to decrease drag whilst swimming. It’s reusable, adjustable and perfect for keeping bushy beards under control.

image001Responding to debates on swimming forums about big beards causing drag, the rail operator and official train partner to the Great North Swim commissioned its own research*. The findings revealed that over one in ten men (12%) connected their beard to slower swim times, and nearly a quarter of men feel their beards hinder their sports performance. This could be because beards are an irritant for some sporting men (11%), a source of discomfort for others (32%) and a distraction for even more (42%).

BeardWatch – See interview with Sports Beard of the Year Will Leer to prove that a beard actually improves performance, statistics be damned.

Also, see adventurer Sean Conway who grew a beard specifically to help him swim better.

Virgin Trains expects the caps to be snapped up, as nearly half (46%) of British men surveyed are now shunning the clean shaved look for something more hairy, and 22% are opting for a big or thick beard. This is despite many (58%) becoming annoyed with their furry faces.

However, it’s not all bad news because over a third of women prefer men with beards (37%) with many women aged 25-34 preferring men with a hairy face (55%), even though some men (29 per cent) find their beards get in the way of kissing.

image002Adrian Varma, Senior Partnerships and Marketing Manager at Virgin Trains, said:

“At Virgin Trains we’re passionate about giving our customers the most awesome experience possible, and this extends to their sporting endeavours as they are travelling to the Great North Swim with us. In addition to the 50 per cent discounted tickets to the event for spectators and competitors, we’re delighted to be offering customers this innovative cap to help them do their best.”

Alex Jackson, event director at Great North Swim said:

“As a newly bearded man, who is also a keen swimmer, I can empathise!  We’re sure our swimmers will appreciate the efforts Virgin Trains has gone to and perhaps the Beard Cap will solve the problem of ‘facial hair-drag’ and encourage more guys to suit up and take the plunge in 2015!”

To find out more information and buy discounted tickets to travel to The Great North Swim visit http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/nova/

Beard of the Month May 2015 – Damon Sansum

Damon Sansum 1Great Britain’s top 80kg Taekwondo fighter (Taekwondist? Taekwondoer?) is named Beard of the Month after his performance at the World Championships in Russia. Sansum walked away with a silver after a hard fight with Iran’s Mahdi Khodabakhshi.

Sansum has a good few years winning Luxor Open Bronze, Turkish Open Bronze, US Open Gold this year and Paris Open Gold, Commonwealth Championships Gold, Grand Prix (Astana) Bronze, European Championships Silver, Bahrain Open Silver and Luxor Open Silver in 2014.

Sansum winning gold at the Dutch Open on a weird podium.

In an interview with BeardMag.com, Sansum stated he’d been growing his beard for two years, so the correlation with recent success is irrefutable.

When asked about his girlfriend’s feeling toward his beard, he said:

She loves it. A man that shaves his beard for a woman deserves neither his beard nor the woman.

Which just might be my favourite beard quote ever.

Damon Sansum 2

Sorry ladies, he’s taken…

Mildly interesting Damon Sansum fact of the day: He has a Spanish wikipedia page, but not an English one…


Follow Damon on twitter: @DamonSansum and if you spot a sporting beard tag it with #BeardWatch and follow @SportBeardWatch for the very best sport beards from around the world.

Premier League Bearded XI 2014-15

Ben Hamer

It’s a shocker at the top as Leicester City’s Ben Hamer is officially the Premier League Beard of the Year!

Ben Hamer 3 Ben Hamer 4

 

 

Hamer beats last year’s winner Tim Howard by a whisker, but continues the fine tradition of bearded goalkeepers.

This year’s list is very much a bottom of the table affair with only 2 players from the so-called ‘big clubs’. This shows pogonophobia at the highest level obviously prevalent. Only one survivor from last year’s XI shows the sad transience of many a beard taken before their prime…

Goalkeeper

Ben-Hamer-2
Ben Hamer, Leicester City (c)

Long and thick. Just the way I like them. On the verge of being straggly, but does just enough to keep its volume. The extra protection is just what a goalkeeper needs, and, frankly, should be adopted by more to avoid serious injury.

★BEARD OF THE SEASON★

Defenders

Marcin-Wasilewski
Marcin Wasilewski, Leicester City

Bigger isn’t always better (apparently). This is a straight talking, no-nonsense kind of beard that adds to the imposing figure of Wasilewski.

Nathan-Baker
Nathan Baker, Aston Villa

I must admit, this one was a bit under my beard radar. Clearly influenced by Villa Legend Olof Mellberg, Baker let this beast grow out to strike fear into strikers.

Armand-Traore
Armand Traore, QPR

A fine bushy number from the Frenchmen, who is clearly not at fault for QPR’s relegation. Sad he should be let down by his smooth faced team-mates.

Gael-clichy
Gael Clichy, Man City

An experienced player who has wisely chosen to grow a beard in the hopes of enlightening others on big money to follow suit.

Midfielders

Aaron-Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal

Ramsey is another proving it’s not just the bottom half that gets to have all the fun.

Joe-Ledley
Joe Ledley, Crystal Palace

A highly popular beard, and one that will be disappointed to play second fiddle to Ben Hamer. A good solid beard, thick and meaty.

Sandro-2
Sandro, QPR

The only survivor from last year. We haven’t seen a return of the front pony tail, but it’s bigger and meaner and getting relegated…

Mike-Jedinak
Mike Jedinak, Crystal Palace

Captain of club and country, and has single-beardedly given Crystal Palace a fantastic season.

Strikers

Steven Fletcher, Sunderland

The Scot adds a little substance to what is frankly a despicable lack of front man facial foliage across the Premier League. Surely with the prevailing tendency to play one up top, strikers would grow a beard to keep themselves company whilst ploughing that lone furrow.

Danny-Ings
Danny Ings, Burnley

A good season means Ings may be off a big club (Not that he looks pleased about it here). We can only hope he doesn’t get star-struck and led astray by some smooth faced bad influence.

Manager

Sean-dyche
Sean Dyche (Interim)

Oh Premier League I’m disappointed with you. The only bearded manager to survive this far in the season is a ginger goatee. This job will be up for review after the final game, and we’ll hope to get a big name in over the summer.

For more sports beard updates, follow @SportBeardWatch on twitter!

6 Best Beards of the 6 Nations

Geoff Cross, Scotland

Geoff Cross 8The king of them all, and possibly the greatest rugby beard ever seen. Unfortunately not long for this world as a new career as a doctor awaits and, let’s face it, that might not be the most hygienic thing.

Jake Ball, Wales

Jake Ball 4A true patriotic beard, almost the same colour as his Welsh shirt. If he stuck a bunch of daffodils in it, they’d probably make him First Minister.

Uini Atonio, France

Uini Atonio 2Uini Atonio is bloody massive. Over 6’5″ (1.97m) and 24st 6lb (155 kg), it’s not as if he needs the beard to be intimidating. But he does. Be intimidated.

Martin Castrogiovanni, Italy

Martin CastrogiovanniLet’s be honest, he’s not a looker. But in rugby, that doesn’t seem to be a big issue. The bedraggled Italian veteran  seems to be taking on the medieval knight look as made famous by Sebastien Chabal (And, you know, medieval knights…)

Joe Marler, England

Joe Marler 4Marler is another big lad that adds to his presence with his solid-looking beard. Leads the way for England.

Mathieu Bastereaud, France

Yoann Huget celebrates with Mathieu Bastareaud 7/2/2015Ireland have let the side down so here’s another Frenchman, and it’s so good that Yoann Huget can’t help but kiss it. Come on, we’ve all thought about it.

Geoff Cross – Beard of the Month February 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re potentially looking at one of the world’s great sport beards.Geoff Cross 6

November 2014 and February 2015’s Beard of the Month looks magnificent, but will not be with us for long. 32-year-old Cross is a qualified doctor and will soon be switching shin pads for stethoscopes, meaning the beard will have to go.
Until that day, we will enjoy it.Geoff Cross 7

Wikipedia states the beard origin story thus:

“I was at Glasgow for ten weeks last season and I talked to Josh Strauss, and he said, ‘You know, Geoff, you say that after rugby you’re going to work as a medic, and I see you haven’t shaved for a few days – really I don’t think very many people would be happy if they went to a GP practice to talk about their sore back, looking to be reassured, and there was this man with this enormous beard. So really, this is the only time in your life that you’ve got to grow a beard. You should seize that opportunity.”

Seize it he did.Geoff Cross 5

Geoff Cross’ international debut for Scotland ended prematurely when he spear tackled opponent Lee Byrne. This earned him a yellow card and a ten minute suspension from the game, but he also knocked himself unconscious and injured his knee.

lee byrne geoff crossThat’s the problem with tackling someone in mid-air, they could well take your head off. Needless to say, the evident lack of facial protection put Cross on his arse and out of action. The beardless fool.

He has since won 37 more caps for Scotland, played over 130 times for Edinburgh and now plays for London Irish.

The great tragedy of this beard is not that it will soon be no more, but that (please excuse me Scottish rugby fans) Scottish rugby union players aren’t usually in the international headlines. If Cross had been a footballer, or a New Zealander this beard would be much more well-known.

When it goes, money will be given to children’s charity Wooden Spoon and at the time of writing stands at just over £6,500 which BeardWatch is proud (but a bit gutted) to support.

Geoff Cross 2