Huntington Beach Nudity Prohibition

While those who frequent nude beaches in California know there's actually a set of guidelines and etiquette that comes along with privilege, on the opposite end of the scope is the law that bans nudity in your own yard.


Huntington Beach, Calif. - One former resident of this conservative beach community, Miguel Angelo Ferreira, a.k.a. the Naked Man, shocked so many people with his physical presence and nudity that some feared it could ruin tourism.

While other cities in California have policies permitting such, Orange County once was less prohibitive. Less than a decade ago, Huntington Beach city council member scrapped a proposed ban on nudity in public places. Designed to remove a proposed business serving up drinks and lap dances from Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach, other methods managed to make the licensing process more challenging, the laws more restrictive, thus (in theory) protecting school children nearby, especially.

To prevent Ferreira from being naked at his home, the district attorney's office suggested that Huntington Beach officials ban public nudity, rather than file indecent exposure charges that require evidence the act was sexually charged (which it didn't seem to be).

What created the most debate among council members was not the ban, but another city law that prohibits people from taking off their swimsuits in public.  Should you visit or decide to live in Huntington Beach, don't take offense at this proclivity to be discreet. Just walk out on the beach during the US Open of Surfing (as opposed to the US Clothed of Surfing) and you'll see everything but a few inches of the body as thong-strapped girls (and sometimes guys), walk along with what looks like no clothes at all from the back side.


One council member, Debbie Cook, questioned the issue of such swimsuits in the August 6, 2007 meeting to decide the law on nudity.  Struck from the language which would have made it illegal to wear a thong bikini was the term "naval cleft". Jill Hardy, a former Huntington Beach High School teacher and council member stated that there would probably be at least one of her former students who could have been arrested under these new guidelines, if the "naval cleft" issue had not been addressed.


Council members questioning whether the law was needed at all, deferred back to Police Chief Kenneth Small, whose office, he said, fielded over 100 calls about one man. Although Ferreira moved out of Huntington Beach, the police chief said that to not create a law would be inviting this man back to town.


We could find no reference to Miguel Angelo Ferreira's current residence and complaints filed (if any) now that he's moved. It would be interesting to find out how he's behaving in his new city.


For those living in Huntington Beach who walk nude through their house to grab a towel they may have forgotten once leaving the shower, it's highly unlikely you'd be arrested, the police chief said.

nudity huntington beach
nude sculpture

A statue of a nude, male surfer in Huntington Beach was not without controversy. The city once considered placing pants on the statue.