Review of the 46th Annual Nude Volleyball Superbowl at White Thorn Lodge
Guest blog by: Bill Nesc
On Thursday, September 8, 2016 I arrived at White Thorn Lodge near Beaver Falls, PA (hometown of Joe Namath) for their 46th annual Nude Volleyball Superbowl. White Thorn Lodge has hosted this event every year since 1971 and scheduled it the week after Labor Day for most of its history.
Upon my arrival after I paid my $75 fee for the 4 days of primitive camping. I met a friend and we watched several 4 vs 4 matches on two of the three sand courts on the grounds. People of all skill levels participated and there were several entertaining games to watch.
On Friday morning, members of the Tiki Tomba volleyball team, a young adult nudist volleyball group from eastern Pennsylvania, held a volleyball clinic for participants of all skill levels. Several Tiki Tomba members who are coaches or participate in volleyball camps helped over 100 participants enhance their volleyball skills. At noon, the Tiki Tombas held a pool party at the White Thorn outdoor pool that went until 6 PM. There was a DJ who played music from the 60’s to present, and the Tikis held many fun and inventive games and competitions at the pool.
For the weekend, I estimated at least 15% of the participants were between ages 18-35. Some came from nudist parks like Bare Oaks or Turtle Lake, while others came on their own to meet up with their friends.
From the time I first went in 1998, I noticed a change in the nudist proclivities of the young adults. In 1998, most young adults only got nude when playing volleyball (which usually is mandatory except in rainy and cool weather) or when using the pool or hot tubs. Now most young adults go nude everywhere when the weather makes it comfortable, like this year’s tournament. Some old timers said 2016 brought the hottest stretch of days they remember in the history of the event.
On Friday night, the organization of the team tournaments begin. They have an opening ceremony where last year’s tournament division winners are greeted with applause and cheers. Afterward, people without a team get to meet with teams who are short of players and need to recruit. Players without teams can also join together to create their own new team.
On Saturday morning, the tournaments began. Unlike other volleyball tournaments, at White Thorn, the teams and players have to stay intact for both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s games are like the regular season in professional, collegiate, and scholastic sports. Teams in each of several divisions play one another several times for seeding purposes on Sunday. Their skill sets range from novice to novice plus, B, BB, A, and AA levels. The lower levels (Novice, Novice Plus, some B, some BB) are co-ed while some BB, some B, A, and AA levels are separated by gender. The players range in age from about 11 to 80+.
Even if you don’t play volleyball, there are plenty of things to do. You can enjoy being a spectator and watch the games. You can use the pool, hot tubs, saunas, do naked yoga and get a massage. At night, there are dances in the clubhouse with different themes each night from Wednesday to Saturday nights. Or attend a rave by the Tiki Tombas, hang out at the Bar 1800, etc.
For more information about the White Thorn Volleyball Super Bowl go to: http://www.whitethornlodge.org/public/superbowl.html
You can also check out this 2009 coverage of the event in ESPN Magazine.
Note: There are sadly no photos from this year’s event (or recent past years) because White Thorn has a strict no-photography policy, and they also don’t employ an official event photographer.