How to Organise a Controversial Naked Event

Around 10 am, the first guests start arriving. Some still looking sleepy, recovering from yesterday’s night out, others already enjoying their first beer of the day. Most are roughly between the ages of 25 and 50. An Uber arrives to drop off the DJ. Several days earlier, she was still spinning records in Ibiza, but she seemed to have recovered surprisingly well from the jetlag. Or she just got very good at hiding it.


At 10:45, the captain gives the signal to start boarding the ship. With a couple of jokes, he tried to set the mood but that wasn’t necessary. Some have travelled from all corners of Australia to come to this event. They are ready for this. We are ready for this.


It would take about 30 minutes of sailing before we were finally allowed to take off our clothes. Nobody wants to offend the grannies having their Sunday breakfast in Sydney Harbour, right? Enough time to meet some of the other guests and get a general idea of the crowd. There are about 150 of them, in many different skin and hair colours. The gender balance is striking, everyone is looking happy.


Even though it’s an overcast day and still quite chilly, only seconds after the blow of the horn all clothes disappear in bags. The DJ pumps up the volume, and the first hips start moving. For the next 5 hours, we will be dancing, partying, drinking, swimming and becoming best friends with complete strangers.


Does this sound like a fairytale to you? No worries. It did to us as well. We had many doubts that a nude event like this could ever exist. An event where we’re not among the youngest, that is not male dominant and without petanque? Come on! Yet, on that overcast Sunday in the harbour of Sydney, that is exactly what happened.



The Rise of Get Naked Australia

Until around 2015, nudity on social media was limited to porn stars, sex workers, and students earning some extra lunch money by exposing themselves on their webcams. Within just a couple of years, a wave of new nude accounts would open up, focusing on different aspects of nudity except for the sexual part. Hector Martinez and The Nude Blogger promoted body positivity, we wanted the world to start traveling naked, and Brendan just thought it would be funny to open an Instagram account where he posted nude backshots of himself in picturesque places around Australia.


It didn’t take long before Get Naked Australia became a hit. Many felt inspired by the freedom that Brendan’s pictures radiated and started creating their own. Thanks to the anonymity of a back shot, they saw no harm in sending in their pictures to be published on the quickly growing Instagram account.


We’ll save you the long version of this story, mostly because we don’t have all the details either, but today, the Get Naked Australia Instagram account isn’t much more than a communication platform. The community that has grown behind it though is mind-blowing. Groups of open-minded people, from all over the country, with sub-divisions in most states, organising nude events like the Sydney Harbour Cruise we are joining today.



It’s pure discrimination

When we announced that we would be going on the Get Naked Australia cruise, we received a number of concerning messages. Did we know that the organisation discriminates against single men? Yes, we kinda figured that out. GNA events are known for their almost perfect gender balance and this is impossible to achieve when there’s no control over who gets to join. Whether we like it or not, nudism is male-dominated and our visit to the nude beaches in Sydney, a couple of days earlier, only confirmed this.


Now that we had the experience, we can give you another insight: Get Naked Australia “discriminates” even more than you already thought. We met a lovely couple on the cruise who told us that they had to apply three years in a row before finally being accepted. We also met a woman whose first application had been denied. Then again, we also met a handful of men who were joining the cruise without a partner.


This was the first time we met the GNA crew in real life, but we have been online penpals for years. They put so much of their time and effort into creating this community, and we know how much it hurts them to read all the negativity from those who have not been accepted to one of the events.


Over a beer in some Sydney pub, Brendan told us that he would love it if he could just drop the selection procedure. It would reduce the criticism and it would make the life of the organisers so much easier. But it just isn’t possible. For every female application, there are hundreds of males. GNA events would soon become men-only, or just die.



How to select a great crowd

So why were the couple and the woman not allowed at first, you may ask. Well, here’s how the selection of the guests more or less works. First are those who already participated in a previous event, members so to speak. Then come those who are being introduced by a member, and then the last spots are being filled with online applications in which the organisers try to determine whether you would suit the community or not.


Maybe it was because of the techno beats blasting over the ship, but this concept reminded us a lot of the Berlin club scene, infamous for being ridiculously hard to get into. We have a friend who once waited from midnight until 5 am in the blistering cold in queue of one of these clubs, only to hear that it “will not be for tonight, pal”.


The bouncers are said to be brainless walking wardrobes discriminating against everything one can discriminate against. But the truth is far from that. The bouncers have their way of reading a crowd and know very well who may or may not benefit the vibe of the night. Today, you may have a better chance if you come alone, tomorrow you might be better off if you come as a couple or with friends.



Vibe is everything

Of the 150 guests on the cruise, probably less than 10% never hit the dancefloor. A large bunch of naked people moving closely to one another, in different states of tipsiness. Many would call this an excellent formula for disaster. We’ve been to naturist resorts that don’t allow dancing for this reason. And we hear that there are others that on the same grounds don’t allow alcohol.


Without talking out of school, there was one particular woman who seemed to have been drinking a little too fast, a little too early. She would have made a good victim for anyone with different intentions. But she could trust that she would be fine, and here lies the strength of the GNA community. You know that you’re in a safe environment, and if you didn’t know upfront, it only takes minutes to realise.


If you have been denied to GNA events year after year and reading our story only frustrates you even more, we’re sorry about that. We just felt that we needed to share this because we believe in the concept. In fact, we believe that if more “heavily moderated” events would be organised, it would eventually become easier for everyone with the right mindset to join one.

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5 thoughts on “How to Organise a Controversial Naked Event”

  1. Y’know, the amount of discrimination that had to go into it to make it decent for you guys really shows just how messed up the community as a whole is. If you want to feel safe I’d recommend doing literally almost anything other than nudism :/

    • Meh, not so sure about that. “Unmoderated” events aren’t any different than a night out in a bar. But because of the nudity, there’s this extra layer of vulnerability. You don’t want to be taken advantage of when you’re clothed, but it becomes something totally different when you’re naked.

  2. Great write up guys 😃👏 It’s a shame we couldn’t make it on the cruise and have the opportunity to meet you in person. Keep up the awesome work you do.

  3. It sounds like there’s quite a lot of interest in such events. Have others considered starting other groups to do similar events, but maybe for different demographics of naturists? Sort of like how the backpacker tour companies have different focus so people can find one which fits their interests, age group, budget, etc. The interest certainly seems to be there, if so many are being turned away by this one event organizer. And, I can understand that these events already are probably as large as they could be without becoming unmanageable, or losing the atmosphere they have.

    It just seems I often hear that Australia doesn’t have the nudist/naturist scene that many people wish it did, considering the climate for much of the year in most of the country is ideal. I’ve wondered why more entrepreneurs haven’t seen Oz as a place to pursue a greater clothing-optional tourism industry?

    • The problem is always that many would love to see more events, but few want to organise them. Most nude events today don’t have a business model and are organised by volunteers, but we’re certain that it’s possible to organise great profitable events.


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