Skinny dippers celebrate full moon

Naturists are reviving an ancient custom at New Zealand beaches tonight, throwing off their clothes from 8.30pm to celebrate the full moon.

Free Beaches New Zealand members want people around the country to "cast off their inhibitions" and join them swimming without togs.

Spokesman and organiser of the Skinny-dipping Down a Moonbeam event in Christchurch, Alan Perry, wants to make it an annual celebration.

"There are no organised events," he said. "Free Beaches want friends to go down to the beach to experience the moment - when the great ivory globe creates a rippling silver path across the dark blue sea until it meets the golden sands."<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

To attract "genuine skinny-dippers" and avoid "gawkers," Mr Perry would say only that the event was happening "at a beach near you".

Christchurch author, former librarian and avid naturist Joyce Fleming, 83, said being in direct touch with the elements was therapeutic.

"At my age I can no longer take part in these delightful activities, but we recommend to young people to discard the accoutrements of today's frantic world and try out the naturist experience ... for health and well-being."

Free Beaches bills itself as a "family friendly society" with a code of etiquette aimed at protecting the rights of "bone-fide skinny-dippers and beach naturists".

Fine weather is forecast for tonight.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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