WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2007) — National Geographic Adventure magazine has chosen Andrew Skurka, 26, as 2007 Adventurer of the Year for his epic seven-month, 6,875-mile hike through the American West to call attention to its magnificent landscape and the environmental and ecological threats affecting it. His first-of-its-kind journey took him through five major mountain ranges, 12 national parks and 75 wilderness areas. The magazine is also honoring British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and polar explorer Will Steger with Best of Adventure awards for Lifetime Achievement.
The achievements of Skurka, Branson, Steger and 14 other adventurers are highlighted in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of National Geographic Adventure (on newsstands Nov. 27), which features the most outstanding accomplishments for 2007 in the world of exploration, conservation and humanitarian work.
The 2006 Adventurers of the Year, Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei, who completed a two-year, human-powered circumnavigation of the world, will present the 2007 award to Skurka on Thursday, Nov. 15, at a gala event at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. The evening will be emceed by Boyd Matson, host of the new “National Geographic Weekend” radio program and the public television series “Wild Chronicles.” He will present awards to Steger and 11 other adventure heroes.
Branson is being recognized for a life lived adventurously and for his initiative to encourage innovation in science and technology to reduce greenhouse gases and curb the effects of global warming. Steger is being celebrated for his commitment to adventure, exploration, research and conservation through decades of projects in the field, polar expeditions and the new Will Steger Foundation to broaden public awareness of the effects of global warming. On Baffin Island earlier this year Steger and Branson witnessed firsthand the effects of global warming on the native peoples and species of the far north.
National Geographic Adventure organized a group of leaders in the world of adventure to serve on its advisory board for the nomination of this year’s top adventurers. With the help of the board, the magazine also recognizes the following for their exceptional accomplishments this year in a variety of fields: Steve Bogaerts, Angelika Brandt, Tim Cope, Mike Fay, Colleen Hardy, Trip Jennings, Gabor Rakonczai, Eric McNair-Landry, Sarah McNair-Landry, Sam Meacham, Borge Ousland, Andrea Palos, Robbie Schmittner and Thomas Ulrich.
“The National Geographic Society exists to inspire people to care about the planet. Adventure’s role within the Society is to inspire people to experience the natural and cultural wonders of the world in exciting ways. Tonight we honor the sponsors, adventurers, outfitters, destinations and manufacturers who have supported our mission and put National Geographic Adventure on such a remarkable trajectory. We are assembling a group of our most interesting friends to celebrate the wondrous things that adventure does in our lives and in our world,” said National Geographic Adventure’s Vice President and Publisher Francis X. Farrell.
Awards for Best of Destinations and Best of Gear also will be recognized at the ceremony. The magazine’s editors have named Albania, Colombia, India, Mongolia, Norway and Senegal as standout adventure destinations for 2008 and beyond.
National Geographic Adventure’s approach to its Best of Gear awards differs from other magazines in that it has established a second advisory board of 44 of the country’s leading outdoor retailers. The board’s contribution was twofold: to weigh in on products that in its expert opinion are innovative and to report on what products consumers are particularly excited about in the marketplace.
The 39 winners are Adidas Supernova Cushion 7 running shoe; Asics Gel Trail Attack 4 WR trail runner; Big Agnes Skinny Fish sleeping bag; Body Glove Eco wetsuit; Brunton Echo Zoom monocular; Eagle Creek Take 2 ORV Trunk 28 luggage; Garmin nuvi 770 dashtop GPS; Giant Trance X0 mountain bike; Gnu Altered Genetics snowboard; Inov-8 Roclite 370 hiking boot; K2 Apache Coomba skis; Kelty Locus 40 backpack; Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool; Magellan Triton 1500 GPS; Mares X-Vision Liquidskin dive mask; Marmot Exum jacket; Mountain Hardwear Helion 2 tent; Nau Indulgent midlayer; Necky Chatham 16 Carbon kayak; New Balance 920 water shoe; Nixon 51-30 watch; Ortovox S1 avalanche transceiver; Patagonia Micro Puff vest; PolarPak Moflow hydration reservoir; REI Cirque ASL 2 tent; Scott Limited Edition Alibi Sakura goggles; SmartWool Ewetopia bike jersey; Smith Optics Interlock sunglasses; Solio Classic solar charger; Sony Net Sharing Cam; Surftech 7’6″ Bear Versatile surfboard; Suunto Lumi women’s wrist-top computer; SylvanSport GO camper; The North Face Catalyst down jacket; The North Face Ligero 50 backpack; Timex Ironman iControl watch; Vaude Aracanda 30 backpack; Vectrix Electric Maxi-Scooter; Volkswagen Touareg 2 SUV.
Presented by National Geographic Adventure magazine and South African Tourism, the Adventurer of the Year celebration includes video clips from the winners’ adventures in the field, as well as music, food and entertainment. Raffle prizes include a trip for two to South Africa, courtesy of South African Airways and Mountain Travel Sobek, and many items from the best gear of the year. Additional sponsors of the event include Asics, Drambuie, Eagle Creek, G.H. Mumm, Nature Valley, Petzl, REI and Surefire.
About National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Adventure, winner of four National Magazine Awards, is the fastest-growing magazine in the outdoor category and the ultimate guide to the adventure lifestyle. Published 10 times a year, with a rate base of 575,000, National Geographic Adventure has 2.3 million readers. It is available by subscription (800-NGS-LINE) and on newsstands in the United States ($4.95) and Canada ($6.95). Its editorial mission supports National Geographic’s global mission to inspire people to care about the planet. The magazine’s Web site is www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure.
About South African Tourism
South African Tourism is the organization mandated with the international tourism marketing activities of the country. For travel and tourism information on this world-class destination, the ideal place for both business and leisure, contact South African Tourism at 500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2040, New York, N.Y., 10110; Tel: (212) 730-2929; Fax: (212) 764-1980; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.southafrica.net.