Save the Nudists! The Florida Young Naturists Keep the Clothes-Free Lifestyle Alive | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Save the Nudists! The Florida Young Naturists Keep the Clothes-Free Lifestyle Alive

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On the weekend of August 14, about 150 clothes-free campers under age 30 — some of whom had come from as far as New York — did all three of these things when FYN hosted the Naked End of Summer Bash at Sunsport.

The under-30 campers, of every body type, ethnicity, and level of tanness and hairiness imaginable, paid $11 to wander the grounds at various levels of undress throughout the weekend . Some were completely naked, while others sported tie-dyed sarongs, which were on sale next to the inflatable water slide.

On Friday night, mellow, funky, folksy music by the band Grassy Waters, its members in various states of undress, lured attendees off of picnic tables and onto the sand volleyball court. There, some people twisted Hula-Hoops around their wrists and into the air while others square-danced. Phillips stepped softly in circular patterns, her henna-painted belly casting a dramatic shadow in the night. Nearby, at a picnic table, friends and strangers painted suns and moons and peace signs on one another with acrylic paint. Every so often, a distant kerplunk suggested that somebody had just done a cannonball into the swimming pool.

Some munched Papa John's pizza while others slipped into Sunsport's poolside restaurant, the Naturally Nude Cafe. Others swigged Coronas and PBRs, yet curiously, nobody seemed drunk. Far into the night, the grounds were busy with the pitter-patters of bare and aqua-socked feet as friends and strangers walked to and from tents, always stopping to greet and chat with whomever they met along the road.

The Soul Birds, a rock 'n' roll band from Orlando, said that performing naked, in front of an unclothed crowd, was easier than traditional venues.

"You don't have stage fright," said Kenny Faj, the band's frontman. "That whole 'picture the audience naked' thing really comes to fruition."

When not dancing, the naturists had full hands. Naturist protocol requires that everyone carry a towel so that no genitals touch public seating surfaces. Also, they carried armfuls of mosquito and ant repellent. Strangers joined the fight against bugs, sharing calamine lotion and American Spirits, like comrades in a trench.

Arlette Opazo, who interns with a shaman and had been to several FYN events, smoked a cigarette beside the pond. "Out there in the world, it's always, like, what do I have to do next?" she said. "Time stops existing here."

"Naturism has also helped me to accept my body," she said. "As a bigger woman, I have felt like there's something wrong with me. But here, everyone is accepting — you learn that body types vary and that they're all normal."

Just then, a skinny, paint-covered guy with a mop top and suede loin cloth wandered over.

"Hey, so, uh, we can smoke out here, right?" he asked.

"You can smoke cigarettes in the designated areas," Opazo says, flicking away a cylinder of ash.

"No," the guy says. "Smoke."

"Oh. Oh, no! Not at all," she clarifies. "If you're going to do that, you have to do that in private, in your tent."

Another attendee, let's call him "James," agreed to show me around the grounds. So off we went — James with a towel in hand, me with a plaid scarf around my hips.

"Do you mind holding my keys?" he asked. "No pockets."

"What's that tattoo?" he then asked, pointing at my chest.

James, a 23-year-old student majoring in history at Palm Beach State College, came to the weekend's festivities by himself and planned to sleep in his car. It was his first event, which he'd heard about on Facebook. He hadn't told his parents, whom he lives with, because they're very strict Christians.

"Hey, are you hungry?" he asked. "We can grab some food."

"Oh man," he said, in a slight Southern twang as we arrived at the café. "I forgot my wallet in my car. No pockets."


"I'll walk back to my car to get it. It's not that far. Unless..."


"Well, I mean, I hate to do this, but would you mind..."

"You know what, don't even worry about it, James. I'll get dinner."

"I'll pay you back right when I get to the car."

We get two plates of vegetarian spaghetti with meatballs and two iced teas, which all came out to a little more than 20 bucks. James was not supposed to eat spaghetti, on account of the gluten, but it was a special weekend. The food was a great price, considering the size of the portions.

Later, James asked, "Could you make sure to approve my friend request? But not to say anything about this on my Facebook wall? Please! I just don't want anyone to see or my parents to find out or anything."


"Great! Well, it's nice to meet you. I'll pay you back."

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Victoria Bekiempis