Nat’l Geo Announces 2015 Adventurers of the Year; 3 Sets of Paddlers Honored

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Paddlers made a splash in National Geographic’s recently announced 2015 Adventurers of the Year, taking three of the top 10 spots. Included in the line-up: Poland’s 67-year-old Aleksander Doba, who kayaked 7,716 miles across the Atlantic; Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker for their production of documentary “DamNation”; and blind kayakers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell, who kayaked the Grand Canyon.

“For 10 years, National Geographic has recognized individuals who exemplify the spirit of adventure, and this year’s honorees are no exception,” says Mary Anne Potts, editor of National Geographic Adventure online. “The 2015 Adventurers of the Year are all people who have pushed the boundaries of exploration, and they are truly inspiring,”

National Geographic has named Adventurers of the Year for the past 10 years. Spanish ultrarunner Kilian Jornet was voted the 2014 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for pioneering a hybrid sport that combines trail running and alpinism to break numerous speed records and redefine what is possible in the mountains. Online voting for this year’s People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year is now open and runs through Jan. 31, 2015. Fans can go HERE  to vote every day for their favorite honoree. The adventurer with the most votes at the end of the voting period wins.

The 2015 Adventurers of the Year are:

Tommy Caldwell, a climber from Colorado, who completed the first traverse of the Fitz Roy massif, the iconic skyline in Patagonia, Argentina, in February with previous Adventurer of the Year Alex Honnold;

Liz Clark, an exploratory surfer from southern California, who has spent the last nine years living on a small sailboat and traveling across 25,000 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean in search of remote swells;

Kit DesLauriers of Wyoming, ski mountaineer, National Geographic grantee and first person to ski the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), who recently led a team of skiers and scientists to Alaska’s Brooks Range to measure the change in glaciers and establish baseline data for the region;

Aleksander Doba, a Polish kayaker who, at age 67, spent more than six months paddling 7,716 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in what is believed to be the longest open-water kayak crossing in history;

Will Gadd of Canada and Gavin McClurg of Idaho, who paraglided 400 miles over the Canadian Rockies to complete the longest-known journey covered in the air by a paraglider;

Ben Knight and Travis Rummel of Colorado and Matt Stoecker of California, a filmmaking team whose documentary “DamNation” brought the topic of dam removal to the forefront of conservation efforts;·         

Briton Lewis Pugh, a long-distance swimmer who aims to bring attention to the deterioration of marine ecosystems and who this year swam the Seven Seas (Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Seas), choosing extreme locales plagued by overfishing and invasive species;

Wasfia Nazreen, a humanitarian who has embarked on a mission to become the first Bangladeshi — man or woman — to climb and hula-hoop on all of the Seven Summits to empower her country’s women and girls;

Ueli Steck of Switzerland, who set a new route in record-setting time climbing, solo, the south face of Annapurna in the Himalayas; and

Blind kayakers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell, who kayaked 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, relying on their precise sense of touch and sound.

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