33-year-old Jamie Mitchell is your quintessential waterman. Wait, check that, he is your prototypical waterman. He owns nine Molokai to Oahu paddleboard titles, he's a more than accomplished SUPer, he has no qualms about paddling big Mavericks or towing giant Jaws, he can rip Kirra with the best of the them, plus he's a good, old-fashion gregarious Aussie bloke to boot. Considering the resume, why wouldn't he be nominated for National Geographic's much-coveted Adventurer of the Year award?
To be honest, it's kind of funny to see a surfer ranking right up there with circumnavigators, trekkers, trackers and the like, but given all that Mitchell's accomplished there's probably nothing humorous about it. 50 km paddles are a very routine part of the training regimen. Along the way he occassionally gets blown off course, where Coast Guard searches are launched and he's evenutally considered lost for dead. But somehow, no matter how far over the horizon he goes, he always finds his way back to land.
"You can put ten guys in the race with the same physical ability and they end up at much different points," Mitchell explained about the Molokai/Oahu race on NationalGeographic.com. "I'd say at least 30 or 40 percent of Molokai is mental -- dealing with pain and setbacks and the sea. The tides and what the wind is going to do are a huge part of the race, and I used to really worry about them. But now I've learned to take it as it comes."
There are ten athletes/adventurers nominated for the Adventurer of the Year award. The winner is decided by popular vote, and votes can be cast until Jan. 15. The winner will be announced Feb. 2011. So come on, get clicking and put a surfer in the top spot. I mean, come on, would you really rather see a 12-year-old mountain climber get the honor?