Over the past 125 years, The National Geographic Society has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation, and exploration projects around the globe. So when the big yellow reveals the nominees for its prestigious People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year award, you can trust that all of them are bona fide badasses. But there can only be one winner. And you get to help choose who it will be.
Watch the above video to see this year’s nominees in action and click through the excerpts below to read The Dirtbag Diaries creator Fitz Cahall’s full compelling interviews with each of them before voting for your favorite. You can vote every day until January 31, 2014. The society will announce the winner in February.
Meet the nominees:
Snowboarder Kevin Pearce
In one year, snowboarder Kevin Pearce went from standing atop podiums at the X Games to relearning how to brush his own teeth after a traumatic brain injury. The one thing that never changed was Pearce’s commitment to the snowboarding community… [Read more] [Vote now]
Sky Runner Kilian Jornet
Jornet did not invent “sky running,” a cross between mountaineering and trail running that involves ascending technical terrain at a runner’s pace… Jornet has, however, taken sky running into the public eye with his unprecedented streak of breaking records and winning races… [Read more] [Vote now]
Skier JP Auclair
Through athleticism, product design, filmmaking, and philanthropy, [Auclair] has found a place among the sport’s icons and defined what it means to be an adventurer… [Read more] [Vote now]
Long-Distance Swimmer Diana Nyad
On the morning of August 31, 2013, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad jumped off a rock seawall in Havana, Cuba, and began her 110-mile swim to Key West across the Florida Straits. It was the 64-year-old’s fifth attempt at the notorious crossing—one plagued by powerful currents, sharks, and box jellyfish… [Read more] [Vote now]
Explorer Sarah Marquis
“One night, I opened my tent in the middle of the night to find five horsemen squatting down 50 centimeters away from my face,” remembers explorer Sarah Marquis, 41, of her time in Mongolia’s vast, green steppe. “Some nights they would gallop by one after another trying to catch the top of my tent. They live in this open space. There are no rules. And, suddenly, there was one white woman in the middle of it…” [Read more] [Vote now]
Community Builders Stacy Bare and Nick Watson
In 2013, Bare and Watson got 250 veterans involved in their expeditions, training programs, and community-building programs. Based in Denver, Colorado, the organization opened chapters in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast. They paddled and fished Alaska’s Togiak River, climbed iconic peaks in Washington State, and traversed New England’s classic Presidential Range… [Read more] [Vote now]
Climber Adam Ondra
When sport climber Adam Ondra wrestled his way up 55 meters of wildly overhanging granite in a cave in Flatanger, Norway, and clipped into the anchors of the route Change, on October 4, 2012, he established a place for himself alongside the sport’s reigning visionary, Chris Sharma, 32. The route, graded 5.15c, marked a new level of difficulty for the sport of climbing… [Read more] [Vote now]
Big-Wave Surfer Greg Long
Long’s all-consuming and thoughtful preparation earned him gold medals at the 2003 Red Bull Big Wave Africa, at Mavericks in 2008, at the 2009 Eddie Aikau event, the 2013 Big Wave World Tour, and more category wins at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards than any other surfer. It also saved his life that day at Cortes Bay—from the physical abilities and mental composure he had developed, to the rescue team he had assembled. The same thoughtfulness now guides the way he is processing the aftermath of the accident… [Read more] [Vote now]
Alpinists Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted
“Resting on the summit we had a clear view of Nanga Parbat,” says Welsted. “We spoke about the massacre, about how close Raph had come to leaving, and what a shame it was that Jesse hadn’t been able to join us…” [Read more] [Vote now]
Adventure Educators Amy and Dave Freeman
“It’s different than watching a movie. It makes it more real,” says Dave of the kids seeing the couple show up at their schools. “It makes them understand, Hey, these are real people that are doing these things—I could do that, too…” [Read more] [Vote now]
Founded in 1888 and dedicated to inspiring people to care about the planet, The National Geographic Society is the world’s most prolific non-profit scientific and educational institution. Read some cool facts about it here.
If you enjoyed the athlete interviews or just dream of one day realizing the dream of living the Adventure life, check out The Adventurers of the Year Manifesto video featuring Fitz Cahall.