Exploration

Surfers Urged To Strip For National Nude Day

A somewhat obscure holiday started by nudists meets freewheeling surfing culture.

"Don't knock it 'til you've tried it," Surfer Magazine's Justin Housman wrote today, encouraging surfers to take part in National Nude Day.

The somewhat obscure international celebration on July 14 also coincides with the French national holiday Bastille Day. As long as the local beach allows nekked surfers, why not celebrate both?

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Disclaimer: Although the links here should be safe for work, there are some naked butts and f-bombs scattered about.

From what I can tell, the nudist holiday National Nude Day has its origins in New Zealand although the exact founder is unknown. Housman says it began in 1976, which doesn't surprise me. Surfing actually began as a nude activity in Polynesia. And, given that surfing tends to have a super chill vibe, some athletes haven't needed much of an excuse to strip down.

The 1970s were the golden age of nude surfing, according to Encyclopediaofsurfing.com. "Pro surfer Wayne Bartholomew of Australia shed his boardshorts for an in-the-buff Tracks magazine cover shot, while reigning Smirnoff Pro women's division winner Laura Blears of Hawaii was featured in a Playboy spread." The '90s witnessed the advent of nude surfing competitions, notably the Ungawa Nude Classic and the Bondi Nude Surfing Expression Session.

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In 2012, New Zealander Marama Kake raised eyebrows -- and awareness for environmental issues by nude surfing at Sunshine Beach. Pro surfer Karl Atkins took on the big waves at Ship Stern Bluff in 2013 without a stitch on. And last fall The Inertia featured six pro surfers who ditched wetsuits for birthday suits.

The closest I've ever come to surfing is standup paddle boarding, and it was cool enough out that I didn't even contemplate what it would be like without any coverage. When it's so hot that the sand burns your feet, well, I'd probably retreat to the shade -- but to each her own. Really, no judgments.

If you want to celebrate the day vicariously through a surfer, here's pro Mason Ho recounting how he got the "Naked Mase" nickname: