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40 Naked Skaters in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Copyright © by Kathie Fry of SkateLog.com
In June of 2001, forty skaters gathered in San Francisco's
Golden Gate Park for a nude inline skating photography session
organized by sports photographer Jack Gescheidt and
24 hour world record holder Sandy Snakenberg.
When I first heard about this event I had
many questions for Sandy. Here is how he responded:
An Interview with Sandy Snakenberg
Organizer of Group Naked Skating Events
Is this the first time you have organized a
group naked skating event?
No, it isn't. My first San Francisco nude skate was in 1996.
Jack Gescheidt took a photo of me skating naked up California
Street behind a cable car. A lot of my friends saw that photo
and thought it looked like fun, so I invited them to share the
experience with me the next time. I was quite surprised to
find out how many people were interested. Since 1996 we have
done several nude photo shoots in landmark locations around
San Francisco, including Lombard Street and the Golden Gate
Bridge. The 2001 skate was the seventh nude photo shoot we
have done in San Francisco and there have been other nude skates
in New York City, Boston, and several other cities.
Why did you organize the June 2001 skate in
I'm always looking for something new and interesting to do.
These nude skates have been more fun for me than anything else
I have ever instigated. It had been two years since the last
skate, so I decided it was time to have a really big one.
I put out the word about two months before the skate, and
there was a lot of interest, from skaters who were totally
into doing it and from others who were interested but
feeling timid. We ended up with forty skaters, and I
believe we might have set a world's record for "the largest
number of people skating naked at the same time".
When did you skate naked for the first time?
The first time I tried it was back in 1984, with the Rad City
Rollers Skating Club in San Diego. I was living in a skating
commune at the time. It was a 13-room boarding house and 11
of those rooms were filled with skaters, 2 or 3 to a room.
It was a fun and carefree time, and that first naked skate
was a spontaneous event that was done for the pure joy it.
Are you planning to organize another naked skate?
We are now doing naked skates every month in San Francisco
and everyone is invited to join us. They are just fun rolls
and they are not necessarily meant to be photography shoots.
The first two naked fun rolls were scheduled for July 4th
and August 19th , 2001, and they will take place monthly
after that. These events will be short nude skates followed
by breakfast with the group. Skaters who would like to
join us can contact me (Sandy Snakenberg) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Won't I be arrested by the police if I skate naked in public?
No. At the very most you will receive a citation and be required
to pay a fine. During our naked skates no one has ever been cited
or fined. The cops have approached us, but all they have done is
ask us to put on our clothes. The last comment made by a cop during
one of our photo shoots was "You KNOW that was your last photo".
Whenever we have had encounters with law enforcement authorities,
they have always been very friendly and good-natured when they ask
us to put on our clothes.
Why should I skate naked?
Skating naked is fun. It brings out a sense of child-like glee
in everyone. It feels good to skate naked and it's fun to do
it with like-minded souls. There are no snobs in a group of
Do I have to be completely naked to join one of your events?
The entire rear side of your body must be nude, but you can wear
pasties or other cover-ups in front if it makes you feel more
comfortable. You should bring a blanket to use as a cover-up
when you're not actually skating. Sometimes it can be cold out there!
Will I always be photographed if I join one of your events?
Not every naked skate is organized as a photo shoot but you always
COULD be photographed.
After answering my questions, Sandy invited me to come along on
his next naked skating event so I could write about the experience.
In June of 2001, I flew to San Francisco to join Sandy and 40 naked
skaters in Golden Gate Park.
What the Naked Skate Was Like
The skaters' plan was to meet in Golden Gate Park at 7:00 A.M.
and start skating at 7:30. The location was only disclosed to
the people who signed up to participate in the skate.
One by one the
skaters arrived, each wearing their own personally
selected cover-up. Some skaters took Sandy's advice and wrapped
blankets around themselves. Others wore robes made of terry
cloth or silk. Some people tied sarongs around their bodies and
some just held squares of cloth over parts of their body. A few
people taped or glued strategically placed pieces of cloth or
paper to the front of their bodies. The "unique cover-up of the
day" award went to two skaters who brought baby strollers to push
during the naked skate to protect the privacy of certain body parts.
The photo shoot took place on a rather secluded road where the
skaters could move up a gently sloping hill with the sun on their
backs. A few passersby noticed what was happening, and some of
them stopped for a few minutes to watch in amusement. At the
end of the photo shoot, photographer Jack Gescheidt asked one
of the skaters to operate the camera so he could take off his
clothes and join the others in one last skate up the road.
Before we headed to breakfast, Sandy suggested that the group
make one last skate, to the finish line of a large 10k race
that was being held in Golden Gate Park that morning. Everyone
thought that was a great idea, and 40 naked skaters took off
down the road. They skated to the finish line, zoomed across
it, made sharp a U-turn, and skated away, before anyone at the
marathon realized what hit them. We heard later that the skaters
were given an honorable mention by Hootie and the Blowfish at a
concert held after the race, and they were the "butt" of many
jokes on San Francisco radio stations that day.
What Did I Think?
The thing that surprised me the most was how normal and natural
this event felt.
It was a lot of fun, but the nudity itself was no big deal. I'm
sure most of the skaters were feeling a bit daring that day - like
they were getting away with something. But really, it felt more
like a family day in the park than anything else. At first a few
of the skaters seemed a bit nervous, but after 30 minutes or so,
everyone started relaxing. Some skaters brought their parents to
the skate, a few brought their infant children, and at least one
father skated with his grown son (this skate happened to fall on
Father's Day). It was a friendly and respectful group that was
a nice mix of men and women, couples and singles, and skaters of
all ages. Several couples and individuals asked me to take extra
photos for their personal collections.
As the morning went on, I could tell that even the people who
were shy at first, were thinking less about the nudity, and
more about just having fun. There was a real feeling of
camaraderie among the participants. I even started to feel a
bit left out because I was not skating naked myself.
Will I take off my clothes and join the group next time? You'll have
to come along yourself to find out!
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This article was originally written for
Fitness and Speedskating Times Magazines (FaSST)
and it was published in their August 2001
issue. FaSST is a hard-copy magazine for
ice and inline speed and fitness skaters
that is published eight times a year and
distributed to skaters all over the world.
for FaSST price and subscription information.
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