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Nude Olympics etiquette explained

NUDE SHOCK: The Alexandria Bay nude beach carnival is being shifted south of the border.
NUDE SHOCK: The Alexandria Bay nude beach carnival is being shifted south of the border.

UPDATE 1.20pm: FIRST rule of the nudist club is don't talk about your day job.

That's one of several unofficial rules in etiquette at the Nude Olympics, an event of about 600 participants annually which organisers hope to hold at Byron Bay in March.

Australian Naturist Federation president Greg Serow said other rules included not taking photos or videos, putting a towel down on a beach chair before you sit on it (for hygiene purposes), no hanky panky, and not using your last name.

"It's give people a bit of privacy," Mr Serow said, adding that if you have a partner, your first names are joined as one.

"We also don't want to judge people on what they do, based on an income and our living.

"Our character and our attitudes towards ourselves and our planet and our children is the most important thing."

On the subject of children, Mr Serow responded to Byron Bay Councillor Cr Alan Hunter, who said so long as the event 'respected children' and gained development consent, he'd support it.

Mr Serow said if minors were barred from the event it would be a deal breaker.

The last thing organisers wanted was for the event to be closed off with barriers to over 18s.

"We're trying to get across her that we're just ordinary people and families, going to the beach and we just happen to have no clothes on.

"If you're going to Italy and driving on a bus to Niece there's 10km of beach everyone is topless or nude and no one even turns their head."

Mr Serow responded to Cr Hunter's joke that he'd only support the event if 'the good looking ones took their clothes off and not the ugly ones'.

"The funny thing women look a lot better naked because half of their clothing, which cuts into them with elastic and makes them uncomfortable, isn't there.

"We think that naturism is useful and positive for women and men.

"As a rule, women often don't even have that situation where they can say  'hey, I'm okay'.

"What we find is people and women, once they finally give it a go, you can actually see the whole stress of that fall off their face, it's like all of a sudden someone's taken all those worries away and their whole persona changes.

"And that's when they realise that no one is paying attention to their shapes, they're looking in your eyes - it's very honest and truthful, all intellectual."

Mr Serow claimed nudist events were designed for individuals to shed not only their clothes, but their social facades and life pressures.

"Just recently a report came from Europe showing people who engage in naturism, it's a great tonic to stop them from depression and anxiety because it gives them some escape," Mr Serow said.

"And I know for a fact people with those types of illness have this positive change when they walk away from the real world.

"You drive up to the venue, you take your clothes off and you throw them in the car, and you walk away and it gives you this really funny goose bump feeling.

"I reckon it's a bit like bungee jumping."

Mr Serow stressed the event was not sexual in nature, but conceded men's top concerns included being aroused at inappropriate times.

"All the guys are worried about it but it never seems to happen is because once again you're on a another planet and where we separate nudity from sexuality.

"The sex thing has been removed from the equation and it's all to communicate in genuine authentic ways."

Nude Olympic events include 4 - 8km marathon, pass the bucket, tug of war and egg throwing.

Mark Hayter is frustrated that police keep fining nudists at A-Bay. Photo: Nicola Brander / Sunshine Coast Daily
Mark Hayter is frustrated that police keep fining nudists at A-Bay. Photo: Nicola Brander / Sunshine Coast Daily Nicola Brander

FRIDAY 6.20am: BYRON BAY could be the host of the next Nude Olympics in March if organisers are able to get Byron Shire Council's consent for the event.

Previously held at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast for 60 years, organisers now hope the naked sports carnival, attracting 600 participants annually, will be at Belongil Beach or Tyagarah Nature Reserve.

The plans follow fears carnival goers would be arrested for wilful exposure if the event continued in Queensland, Australian Naturist Federation president Greg Serow said.

"We've always thought of Noosa as a progressive place - you used to have hippies in the main street selling tie-dye stuff," Mr Serow said. "I don't know how we are going to fix this up. It's down and gone (the nude sports carnival). So we're not doing it - we're going to New South Wales."

Mr Serow claimed the event could reap the local economy up to $6 million.

Cr Cate Coorey said the council would consider a development application from organisers based on the same merits as any other development application.

"The original Olympics were all nude in Greece, I'm not judgemental about the event and we don't have a problem with nudity in Byron," Cr Coorey said.

"But we do have a problem with environmental protection.

"Belongil is a fairly ecologically sensitive area. So we have to see what their application is, what impact it would have on the environment and what benefit it would have for the community."

Cr Alan Hunter joked he'd "support the event only if the good looking ones take their clothes off and not the ugly ones".

"There's a lot of other things that people can do that are more dangerous to the environment," he said.

"So long as they're not doing any harm, they're not leaving their clothes on the beach and things are done to respect families and kids running around, I don't have a problem with it.

"But, rules are rules, and it all depends on exactly what they're doing and if their DA goes through."

Local business owners such as Amanda Hyciek, of Wicked Weasels swimwear, welcomed the Nude Olympics.

"They couldn't have picked a more supportive and progressive location than Byron," she said.

Queensland police confirmed there were no plans to change laws against wilful exposure to accommodate a no-clothing event. A NSW police spokeswoman said that in NSW nudity was a crime when there was "wilful and obscene exposure", so the illegality of a nudist event would depend "on its context".

Topics:  byron bay byron shire council editors picks general-seniors-news northern rivers quirky nude olympics outandabout



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