volleyball in the nude… as never captured before?

Sports in the buff is fun, and volleyball is probably the favorite game among naturists – perhaps because it is also a perfect beach sport? There are numerous naked volleyball tournaments, with more and more appearing every year, and the major ones in North America are listed at nudistvolleyball.com. This weekend we have SunnyBowl at Sunny Rest Resort, where I’ve been many times for the 7k trail race. I’m going with my friends Casey, the winner of the trail race in 2014, and Dan, another contributor to this blog, but I’m also looking forward to seeing my numerous  friends from the naturist volleyball community. And although the uniting theme is volleyball, some participants contribute with other activities, such as DJing or fire-spinning, as I filmed at SunnyBowl last year. What is really nice about naturist volleyball events is that there are players of all levels of experience, from complete novice to professional, so you’ll surely find a team where you can fit well! The biggest naturist tournament in volleyball is held at White Thorn Lodge in Pennsylvania,  and when I visited it for the first time 2 years ago, the level of games simply blew my mind! But I also found it strange that none of that was photographed and filmed. I thought that awesomeness was too good not to be shared with the rest of the world, and dreamt to change that. Here is our first attempt: a friendly match of Tiki-Tomba teammates at the Banana Rum Cup in White Tail resort, Virginia. Hopefully you’ll get to see their finals someday too! Meanwhile enjoy our two videos: a one-minute promo (above), and a five-minute footage that should give you an impression of the full match (below).

A good game starts with a good serve,

naturist volleyball 0008 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

and when the players are nude, you can see how the whole body is engaged right away.

naturist volleyball 0009 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

Here, the volleyball classics meets the Ancient Greek athlete classics.

naturist volleyball 0006 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

It is equally impressive that after such powerful serves, the opposite team is able to respond!

naturist volleyball 0002 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

And in this photo below, you can get a glimpse of how we shot the video.

naturist volleyball 0003 Banana Rum Cup, White Tail Resort, Virginia, USA

This is how it went:

And just a few words about White Tail resort: it’s a large nudist community with permanent residents and a motorhome park, but also with a lot of space for campers coming for an event like Banana Rum Cup. Their party hall is probably the biggest I’ve seen at a naturist resort. There is a big L-shaped outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a pretty big heated pool with glass walls and ceiling – perfect for chilling in bad weather. We actually got pretty unlucky with the weather, as on the day of the finals it was unseasonably cold, but that pool area allowed us hanging out in the buff in comfort even while there was chilling rain outside…

In the other related news, my friend Josh and I installed the second volleyball net at our local Sandy Hook beach. There used to be two nets until the hurricane Sandy destroyed one them, and often enough it was hard to get on the one and only court to play volleyball when the beach would get busy during summer weekends. We played a bit with  a portable net, but it wasn’t very stable; and it’s quite a hassle to put it up and down every time… So, Josh and I independently had been thinking about setting up a more stable net, but when we talked about it, there was no reason to delay any longer, and just a week later we had everything ready.

naturist volleyball 0003 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

As soon as we made the measurements and started digging a hole for the first pole, we got a couple more helpers = new friends.

naturist volleyball 0002 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

And there it was –

naturist volleyball 0001 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

just ready before the nightfall! Having two nets will surely make it easier for Sandy Hook beachgoers to get engaged with volleyball.

naturist volleyball 0004 Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA

So, whether you are at a nudist resort or beach, keep calm and play naked!

naturist KEEP CALM & PLAY NAKED

Naked Volleyball SuperBowl(s), and on no-photo policy at some naturist events

Naturists playing volleyball is a cliché, but I think it’s a good one! Let me know if I’m wrong, but apparently the largest naturist sport event (after the original Olympics in Ancient Greece were prohibited) is a volleyball tournament which takes place every September in Western Pennsylvania – The Original Naked Volleyball Superbowl. As its venue, White Thorn Lodge, is probably all white in snow right now, before reporting on our experience there, I’d like to announce that a similar event will take place in one month in the Sunshine State of Florida: the 14th Annual Super Bowl South Ten Day Volleyball Tournament. Well, quite a bit of information has been included in the name already, so I’ll just add that it takes place at Lake Como resort in Tampa area from 6th to 15th of March, with finals on the last day. See you there 😉

Here is a promo video for this event. If you notice, they don’t really show much of the volleyball game itself though, and yet it’s more than the bigger event in Pennsylvania allows: although this blog usually features photos and videos to accompany most texts, absolutely no photos were allowed at the Volleyball Superbowl at White Thorn Lodge. I’d like to hear your opinions about it, but I find it unfortunate. If naturist movement wants to promote body acceptance and normality of nudity, it seems counterproductive to forbid photography and video at such a big event as Volleyball Superbowl, as it may only reaffirm general public’s opinion that nudity is something to be ashamed of or at best suitable only for private/secretive setting. Sport events make the top most watched TV broadcasts – the Summer Olympics, football and rugby World Cups, Tour de France etc. globally, and Super Bowl in USA – so it appears that naturism fails on capitalizing on demand for sport videos to popularize the movement. And it’s a pity even more so, because such videos would promote naturism as an active and healthy lifestyle.

Well, actually there is an article and a video by ESPN about the Naked Volleyball Superbowl, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do justice, in my opinion, because all photos seem to be staged and everything possible was made to conceal genitalia and women’s nipples. (Good move, ESPN, with your Body Issue series, but it’s kind of only a half-move for the aforementioned reasons…)

As a result of such policies, if you search for illustrations of naked volleyball games, as I did for the article on nudity in sports, you’ll be swamped with porn links with hardly any legitimate material in sight! Needless to say, it would send a wrong message to someone who just started getting into naturism and would look for more information and examples of naturist activities. Surprisingly, there are a lot more videos of naked skydiving and rock climbing than of naked volleyball!

Is there any solid reason behind such strict rules at the Naked Volleyball Superbowl and some other similar events? Perhaps the organizers are afraid that many people wouldn’t want to be outed as naturists publicly, and if they allowed photography and TV, fewer visitors would come and some would feel uncomfortable (which, again, is contrary to naturist philosophy of nudity’s normality). But such events as the World Naked Bike Ride attract even larger numbers of participants, and nudity is on display in front of much larger audiences in some of the world cities such as London (as opposed to private nudist clubs)… Perhaps a solution to keep ‘shy’ people happy at the Naked Volleyball Superbowl and the like would be giving out wristbands of different colors to those who are fine with being photographed and those who aren’t, and  make the photographers and TV crew sign release papers accordingly…

The only argument against photography that I personally would [maybe] accept from the organizers is if their intention were that participants enjoyed the immediacy of the event. This is how no-photo policy is explained at the ‘Output’ nightclub in New York, for example. While I don’t necessarily feel that I personally lose immediacy every time I take a picture (sometimes even on contrary, I get deeper into the moment taking a picture of it), at least such an argument at naturist events wouldn’t send you to the assumption that nudity is somehow shameful 😉

Regardless of the photography issue, there were many moments to enjoy at the Naked Volleyball Superbowl. I went with two friends – Tam and Mat 😀 – and immediately upon arrival we made a few new friends. From people at the reception to our campsite neighbors, everybody wanted to make sure that we had everything necessary for a comfortable stay. It was indeed very helpful, because my other friend Don had to cancel his trip last minute, and he was supposed to bring some camping gear. In the end, everything went smoothly, and we greatly appreciated friendliness of White Thorn Lodge members and so as fellow campers who also came specifically for the event: we were offered to use the grill, a ride to Pittsburgh on the way back, and were invited to dinners and parties. Some camps, such as Quebec’ team and Tiki-Tamba, had decent sound systems and DJs, so at night the atmosphere was very much of a festival.

We went with the idea to play lots of volleyball, but we didn’t realize the event was indeed that serious about the sport. It actually turned into a volleyball marathon of three full days! On Friday, we built our team with our campsite neighbor John, his friend from local community and that friend’s friend’s teenage daughter. So, our team pretty much reflected the open nature of this event! With around a thousand participants (in some years, up 1500!), Naked Volleyball Superbowl truly brings all kinds of people together. Some arrive with fully formed teams, others find teammates on the spot. This diversity is also reflected in volleyball skills, as competition includes men’s and women’s AA, A and B classes, and multiple mixed C/Novice level teams. We started as a novice team but on Saturday were upgraded to C (Novice+). Sunday was the day of the actual competition, by which we were quite exhausted. None of us had much experience with volleyball, but we did pretty well, at least better than we expected, just failing to reach the finals. It was also nice to walk around and watch other matches, which differed quite a lot, depending on the surface (grass, sand, asphalt) and levels. After corn roast in the afternoon, the event culminated with men’s AA finals. I’d never seen volleyball of such high level and was amazed that it looked like a totally different beast from volleyball games that you see at a beach typically. This was inspiring and impressive, and nudity made the whole experience only more exciting. After seeing this game, where the volleyball was certainly not the only kind of balls bouncing around, I could assure that the claim by some naturist skeptics that vigorous activities are not suitable to do naked because certain body parts would “move too much” and “get hurt” is complete bollocks! Well, perhaps such skeptics should consider the Russian version of the proverb that a bad workman always blames his tools, which is ‘плохому танцору и яйца мешают’ and literally means ‘a bad dancer is impeded even by [his own] balls’. 😀

I can’t wait for the naked Volleyball Super Bowl South in Florida and then hope to practice volleyball more at Sandy Hook beach this summer to be in better shape for the tournament at White Thorn Lodge again!

TV goes naked this Friday night! (in US and Spain)

I’ve just read about two TV programs that will show naturist families on Friday night, in Spain and in US. That’s an interesting coincidence. I probably won’t be able to watch either of them, but here are the links with some info and previews:

A show about an American family that lives in a nudist colony

A Spanish show with temporary family exchange, this time hunters + naturists. Sounds like fun!