Why are We No Longer Wearing Thongs on American Beaches?

“Daytona Beach 31st of March 2007. Unfortunately, this is the only thong shot from my entire 1 week trip to central Florida. Somebody needs to tell the fashion nazis it’s time to bring the thong swimsuit back in style. 10 years ago, it would have been almost impossible to avoid getting a thong shot in anytime you shoot a crowded beach in FL. Today, the opportunities are rare. “

usathongking is an opinionated man who collects and shoots beach photos. I talked to him about the decline of the thong and the pleasures and struggles of a candid photographer.

The thong is gone

Why is the thong gone and the beach wear fashion today so different compared to 10 years ago?
- In the 1990′s, I remember there were times when probably 1/4 of all the women on the beach were wearing thongs. That was Daytona, not Miami, which I had not even “discovered” at that point. On my last trip to central Florida, i would put that statistic at roughly 1 in 100.

My comment about the “nazis” (Daytona beach photo) was in part referring to the fashion industry and the styles it pimps, along with the politicians who write ordinances. In Daytona, it is still legal to wear a thong on the beach, but once you step off the beach, you’re in the city limits, thus subject to an ordinance that imposes fines. As far as the reasons for this change goes, I simply have no idea.

How do you take the photos?
- All the photos I’ve taken thus far have been candid shots. I’ve never been overtly caught, but I’ve been under strong suspicion a few times. In those instances, I simply moved on.

The easiest way to pull a good candid shot

Do you get any bad reactions when people discover they are photographed?
- On the last trip, I got in a few shots of a bunch of teenagers in a crowded area, but girls that age are always looking at whoever’s looking at them, and they started talking to each other. Granted, I was probably 100 feet away, part of a crowd, and was zooming on other members of the crowd, but they were on to me. I pretended not to notice and moved on with no trouble.

In my experience, the easiest candid shots to take are of women with small children, since they’re not going to be paying any attention to a dude 50 or 100 feet away with a camera in his lap. The easiest way I’ve found to pull of a good candid shot is using the viewfinder while holding the camera somewhere away from your face, so it’s not obvious you’re using it.

Trip to Miami Beach
- When I was in Miami, I got a lot of shots of passers-by while sitting on the beach. That’s how I got those two girls with tatoos walking down to the water in near thong bikinis.

- Since I didn’t have a zoom camera at the time, I did sneak up within 15 feet of one woman laying face down to get a shot. I did not get caught. I was actually wearing a thong myself at that time, thus would not have had a place to conceal the camera.

Miami and the Keys are best for thong spotting

What Florida beaches are best if you want to see thongs?
- As far as beaches go, in my expereince, South Beach (Miami) is #1. I’ve heard nearby beaches in south FL are also good. I’ve seen plenty of thongs in the Keys too. They’re pretty open-minded there, but they just don’t have the same population density as Miami.

- Volusia county (Daytona and New Smyrna) and Pensacola are worth mentioning as well, since thongs are legal at least on the beach there, at least since I’ve last been to those places. They are illegal on Clearwater beach, and also in Brevard County (includes Melbourne and Coco Beach), so I don’t even bother hanging around in those places, given that I like seeing women in thongs, and occasionally wearing one myself.

usathongking’s flickr accounts (alll photos may not be safe for work):
Photos taken by himself


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Get fit for the summer


spring break

Spring Break Photos


  • David Simpson
    1 Mar 2008 | Permalink | Reply

    First of all: Thongs aren't gone. If you go to a beach in any part of Florida and don't see them, then you must be blind.

    Another thing, you talk about people's reactions when you are photographing them. You shouldn't be photographing people that you don't know, no matter what type of swimsuits they happen to be wearing. I, along with many others, believe it should be a crime for *YOU* to photograph another person, in public or private, without their knowledge and their permission. You should be sentenced to jail time for intruding on another person's basic human rights. You are pathetic.

  • Tiff:)
    23 Apr 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    very true :) i plan on sportin a thong bikini this summer and i hope everyone is looking at me in envy :)

  • Davy
    17 May 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    I wear a thong anytime its legal and I am often aware of people “sneaking” a picture. I do consider that rude not to ask first, but usually I don’t mind and consider it a compliment. Practically, what are you going to do? It surely isn’t worth causing a scene by confronting the photographer. Often the photographer will ask, because they want your picture with them in it. I have yet to turn down a woman who asks.

  • Stussy
    15 Jul 2010 | Permalink | Reply

    Thongs are the best!
    A little teasing… its like the new “Cleavage” !! No seriously… it is. In fact – I saw a laugh of a website the other day… http://www.thongspotters.com – post photos of the thongs you found, then rank and vote for them! It was a gas.

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