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

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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/

Ali v Amla – BeardWatch Showdown

The Cricket World Cup 2015 has been dominated by two enormous presences: England’s Moeen Ali and South Africa’s Hashim Amla. Both Muslims of, respectively, Pakistani and Indian descent, they’ve upheld their religion’s fine and upstanding tradition of beard growing.

In this post we will analyse their beards to discover who truly has the Greatest Beard in Cricket.

Moeen+Ali+England+v+West+Indies+ICC+CWC+Warm+w2PGG77rL_0lHashim-Amla-Pictures-Photos-Images1-1024x576

Length

Amla must surely be in the top 1% in terms of beard length in the sporting world, but in this showdown he is unlucky enough to be up against one of the longest face rugs in modern sport beard history. Whilst Amla has a beard that can hide his whole neck, Ali’s often dips down below his collar-bone and almost to armpit level.

Ali 1 – 0 Amla

Density

This is a tough one to call. Both beards have a similar facial coverage in terms of cheeks and sideys and avoiding the top lip. On close inspection of many HD photographs (BeardWatch – zooming in so you don’t have to) it would appear Amla has marginally thinner beard hair though this may be a result of a different beardcare regime. This is a draw.

Ali 1 – 0 Amla

Moeen Ali 2 web Hashim Amla web

Colour

Their shared south Asian heritage mostly dictates this category, and both sport pure black beards. However it would appear Amla’s 4 extra years in this world are taking their toll with a few strands of grey peeping through. While there is nothing wrong with a dignified grey beard, the strands are a little thinly spread at the moment to look anything more than incidental. Ali takes this one by a hair.

Ali 2 – 0 Amla

Style

It would be difficult to attribute a particular style to either beard other than “letting it grow long”.  In terms of grooming, disregarding in-game photos where a beard can get all messed up, they still cannot be separated. Both seem fairly content with letting their beard take its natural course without over-brushing. Another draw.

Ali 2 – 0 Amla

Moeen Alihashim-amla_650_021715075659

Sexiness

In many beard profiles, sexiness will be all important because, let’s face it, beards are sexy. However, to be honest in this particular showdown it’s not the deciding factor. While there are plenty who will love a good long beard to hang onto, neither would fit most people’s sexy standards.

Final score Ali 2 – 0 Amla

The scoreline may seem like a comfortable win for Ali, this was more like the ground out win you expect from a champion at the end of the season against their bitter rivals.

Both beards are way up there in the sport beard world and should be applauded and shown to youngsters for inspiration.

For this tournament, we can definitively say England’s Moeen Ali has the World’s Best Cricket Beard.

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Beard World Cup Final

Groups A & B
Groups C & D
Groups E & F
Groups G & H
Second Round
Quarter Finals
Semi Final

Cameroon 1 – 3 Greece

Greece are the World Beard Champions!

One of the big favourites didn’t disappoint against surprise opponents Cameroon who have done magnificently to get this far.

First of all a mention to Cameroon, who qualified top of their group ahead of the hosts and went on the run of their lives to reach the final. Their star player was goalkeeper Itandje. A fine, strong beard accentuated by short hair that saved the Indomitable Lions on many occasions.
Itandje 2Cameroon's goalkeeper Charles Itandje at

But Greece had a strength in depth that no one else could match. Whilst there were better individual stand out beards elsewhere in the tournament, as a team, Greece simply couldn’t be beaten, with plenty of beards on the bench to back them up.
Greece 2 Greece's football squad

Greece often started games with 5 or 6 beards on the pitch, something no other team could match.

Led well from the front by captain Georgios Samaras, he recieved plenty of support from the likes of bad-boy Panagiotis Kone, the streamlined Dimitrios Salpingidis, the tidy Ioannis Maniatis, the sexy Orestis Karnezis, the fuzzy Konstantinos Mitroglou, the short Konstantinos Katsouranis and the vaguely frightening Georgios Tzavelas.
Samaras 2
Panagiotis Kone 2SalpingidisIoannis ManiatisFBL-WC-2014-GRE-PRESSERKonstantinos Mitroglou 2Konstantinos KatsouranisGeorgios Tzavelas