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Nude Pickleball is Taking Off (Pun Intended!)
It’s true…nude pickleball is taking off. In fact, it’s disturbingly popular. Why are people playing pickleball naked?
We know pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. The rules are simple, and the game affordable, easy on the joints, great exercise, social and good for all skill levels. New pickleball courts, which take up a whole lot less space than tennis courts, are popping up all over. So, I understand why pickleball is popular. What I don’t understand is why suddenly its a “thing” to play without clothes.
WHY ARE PEOPLE PLAYING PICKLEBALL NAKED?!
Larry Ford, who owns and operates the Clothing Optional Home Network at the Alpenglow Ranch, a nudist B&B in Bend, Oregon, explains;
“As with anything nude vs. clothed, it’s the feeling of the sun and the wind on your body and the freedom of it,”
According to ThePickler.com the Alpenglow Ranch has a secluded pickleball court centered inside its 50 acres with a gated entrance to provide an extra measure of privacy. People book weekends at this resort just to be able to play pickleball naked.
I learned while researching this article that many other “clothing-optional” resorts offer multiple courts and hold frequent tournaments. For example, Cypress Grove in Kissimmee Florida boasts more than 170 paying members who play outdoor games sans clothing seven days a week. Pickleball isn’t the only game played in the nude, but it is the most popular.
Call me a prude, but this new phenomenon seems a little bizarre. However, plenty of people disagree. Here’s why fans say they enjoy playing nude pickleball:
Nude pickleball is more comfortable and relaxed
Playing pickleball in the raw is a good way to let your hair down and have some fun. It feels good to be naked; many say they feel more comfortable and at ease without clothing that can restrict their movements.
Playing naked allows your body to regulate its temperature more effectively
Clothing can trap heat and make you sweat, especially if your exercise attire does not permit sweat to evaporate from your skin. When naked, your skin can breathe better and stay cooler.
People feel more connected to nature when naked
Some people feel more connected to nature when nude. They say they like to feel the surface below their feet, and the breeze and warm sun on their body. Many of these individuals call themselves naturists. They feel that without clothes they have an opportunity to destress and feel at peace in nature away from their pressures of their lives. Note that naturists will tell you it’s not about sex; it’s about enjoying life in a non-sexual way while not feeling constricted by clothing. They simply feel more grounded and liberated.
Nude pickleball is an equalizer
Stripped down, without clothes or shoes that provide clues as to social or economic status, everyone is equal. You only have your skills on which to rely. It can be freeing for some people to feel that everyone is on the same level during a match.
Disadvantages of playing nude pickleball
We understand some of the reasons people like to play the game naked. However, there are some downsides as well. Here are a few:
If you don’t protect yourself with sunscreen applied liberally and often, you might find yourself with sunburn in some sensitive areas.
It’s well documented in the research that too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. And once you have skin cancer once, you run a greater risk of developing more problematic areas on your body. Make sure you cover all exposed skin with sunscreen – and in the case of nude pickleball, that means all parts of your body. Apply it generously and repeatedly.
On a small court such as that used in pickleball, it is not unusual to receive a body shot from an opposing player. Whether the player hit you intentionally or not doesn’t matter, it still hurts. Some players use body shots as a strategy to win; they say hitting someone directly with the ball is part of the game. Players in a friendly game generally don’t use this tactic to win the game – they more likely will aim for feet or a gap on the court. However, there is disagreement amongst players if tagging someone with a body shot is an acceptable strategy, and when you play naked, you have absolutely no protection.
Is nude pickleball for you?
What do you think of this trend? Is nude pickleball for you? I understand the positives and why people might enjoy it. It would be nice not to deal with sweaty clothing, and I get why people feel free, relaxed and closer to nature without their clothing. I also understand why people feel playing this way is an equalizer. That said, I am not sure I am interested in playing pickleball naked.
I do enjoy the sport and plan to continue. It’s a great cardiovascular workout and provides wonderful opportunities to meet new people and expand your social life. However, playing nude pickleball is not something I plan to try anytime soon. I wish I was more confident and comfortable with my body, but I admit I am not there yet. I also have a history of skin cancer and do not want all my body parts exposed to the sun for long periods of time, even covered with a high SPF sunscreen. I am generally the person you see at the beach under the umbrella or covered in long sleeves and pants for much of the time. Those who experienced Mohs surgery to treat skin cancer as I have know it’s not fun.
That’s just me – what are your thoughts? One word of caution, if you do play nude pickleball, make sure you play somewhere it’s legal to do so! Playing pickleball naked on a court not specifically dedicated to this purpose is likely to get you arrested.