Tauranga is set to become home to an eccentric new fundraiser next year, with the inaugural ‘Nude Dude’ charity swim announced for 15 March 2018.

The Nude Dude is open to anyone who is prepared to bare all. Don’t let the name confuse you though… both men and women (aged 18 and over) can become a Nude Dude to support those with breast cancer in the Bay.

The strictly non-spectator event will see participants make their way to the shore at high tide (around 7:00pm) on the evening of the 15th, before ditching their sarong, frolicking into the surf and swimming an easy 100m lap wearing only their birthday suit.

In order to make the cut, however, participants must first register their interest online and rally their friends, family and colleagues to fundraise a certain dollar figure ($300 for individuals and $1000 for group entries of up to four people). All funds raised will go directly to Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga – a local independent trust which relies on donations, fundraising and community grants for its income.

Breast Cancer Support Service Manager, Helen Alice, says the event will allow Kiwis to celebrate who they are no matter their size, shape or gender.

“We wanted to create an event that would not only get the community talking and drive awareness for an important cause, but also inspire people to let go of their inhibitions, have fun and celebrate their wonderful bodies in all their diversity.

“Part of the inspiration for this event also came from footage we saw of the hugely successful ‘Sydney Skinny’ nude swim in Australia – there were a number of women who had mastectomies without reconstruction taking part, and they all looked so beautiful and happy. There is something quite special about celebrating ‘just being alive’ and accepting the skin you are in.”

Although it’s the Nude Dude’s maiden voyage, the Breast Cancer Tauranga team is well versed in executing successful fundraising events, including the HOT Pink Walk through Tauranga CBD every October since 2002 (which attracts thousands of participants and spectators), the Papamoa Hill Night Walk and the annual Legacy Lunch fundraiser.

“More than 3,000 New Zealand women (and men) are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, with 250 located in the Western Bay of Plenty alone. We rely heavily on community support to continue supporting these people – whether it’s through information and resources, a relaxing massage, counselling, dinner delivery or support on the chemo ward.

“When it comes to fundraising, we like to think of ourselves as quite innovative and creative. The Nude Dude is designed to be social but the integrity of the event is also really important, so we have gone to great lengths to ensure participants feel comfortable. Only those participating will be given access to the unnamed beach on the evening of the event and there will be security present, as well as lifeguards from Omanu Surf Club – so there’s no need to worry about safety, or peeping Toms!”

Regardless of who swims the fastest, those who raise the most money will be named ‘winners’ and there are some impressive prizes up for grabs. The individual winner will enjoy a luxury weekend for two at 970 Lonely Bay Lodge, Coromandel, valued at $1700 (think uber-luxe suite overlooking Purangi Estuary and Mercury Bay, as well as a boat cruise on the Hahei Explorer and dinner cooked on-site by their own personal chef!). The winning team get to live it up at Post Bank for an evening, where they’ll eat and drink their way through an interactive ‘mixology’ cocktail making session with some of the Mount’s top bartenders.

Those who prefer to keep their clothes on can still get involved via the Nude Dude social competition. From now until March, prepare to see a few Nude Dude mascots popping up around town, on the beach and at various events. Absolutely anyone can share a selfie with the Nude Dudes on social media, along with the hashtag #nudedudebop, and go in the draw to win a boutique glamping experience for two at The Round Tent (a chic Raglan retreat that takes camping to a new level). Make sure to keep your phone charged when you’re out and about this summer, folks!

To register for the Nude Dude event and create a givealittle fundraising profile, visit: https://www.nudedude.org.nz