The strict dedication it takes to become an Olympic-caliber athlete is astounding: years of practice and discipline, rising with the sun each day and putting in grueling effort.
But athletes are human beings as well as national heroes, and they also like to have a little fun from time to time.
Professional Israeli swimmer Guy Barnea, 30, an Israeli record-holder and 2008 Olympian, is out to do just that. And he wants to take you along for the ride.
It all started with a nude swimming photo shoot for Barnea’s men’s swimsuit line, Weekends At, which he created this year together with top Israeli clothing designers Ron Nadel and Dov Adar.
In light of this experience, they vowed to work toward giving everyone the chance to feel what it is like to swim naked in open water without displaying your bod to the whole world.
Here’s how it works: You pay a small fee, enter a designated patch of cool ocean water, discreetly disrobe under the flowing waves, and hand your swimsuit to a nice young woman who promises to watch it for you (she even hangs the skivvies nicely on a floating rack). Then you get to swim, free as a bird (er, fish) just as nature intended.
Barnea sees a serious side to his project, as a social movement that encourages people to bond with nature. The campaign is meant as a first step toward creating safe spaces to skinny-dip in crowded public areas.
He explains: “After that photoshoot, we decided that this is just a fun experience that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy. I’ve been a swimmer my whole life and I have to tell you — naked swimming is something else.”
How can you help Barnea in his quest for discreet public freedom? You can join his Headstart fundraising campaign, of course! But don’t confuse this with a ploy to make a quick buck.
“It’s important for me to emphasize: The goal of the project is not to make money, but to allow people to experience the most liberating and natural experience,” writes Barnea, who stripped down in 2015 for a Yedioth Ahronoth photo shoot of nude Israeli professional athletes.
Barnea even gives a little incentive in the name of the cause. Gifts for joining the campaign include anything from a free shirt to an invitation to join Barnea and his friends on a private yacht. Donate a mere ₪500 ($142) and get a free swimming lesson with the Olympian himself — with swimsuits on, we presume
All money raised for now will go toward purchasing and installing floating racks and pushing forward this social initiative on beaches across Israel.