It seems to be every woman’s childhood dream to turn into a real-life mermaid and to make a splash in the underwater world. This childhood dream can now become a reality. “Mermaiding” has become a big hit in the past few years. But what does mermaiding entail?
Mermaiding is a combination of fin swimming with a monofin and costume tail, freediving and underwater modelling/performing. While ordinary freedivers wear their fins mainly as a piece of sporting equipment, the equipment used in mermaiding also plays a big visual part.
In mermaiding, participants wear costume mermaid tails with an integrated monofin. While the monofin covers the purpose of improving the performance in the water, the costume tail has a strong visual effect which adds a magical feeling of fantasy into this modern swimming technique.
There are different types of mermaid tails available. The most common ones are spandex tails, neoprene tails, latex tails and silicone tails. There are several tailmakers around the world. Some of the most known ones are the Mertailor in the USA and Mermaid Kat Shop which is based in Germany and Australia.
In mermaiding participants use their whole bodies, similar to the dolphin movement. The movement starts in the chest and from there continues like a wave throughout the entire body.
Compared to common freediving, mermaiding doesn’t focus on improving your personal best in reaching certain depths or distances on a single breath hold. It rather focuses on being graceful while underwater. As mermaiding is also used in underwater shows and underwater modelling, participants are focussed to learn underwater tricks such as blowing bubble rings and bubble kisses, spinning, turning and twirling.
Mermaids and merman usually swim without wetsuits or masks, which means they are more exposed to cold water temperatures than scuba and freedivers.
Over the last few years, mermaiding has developed to a popular new water sport. There are even international mermaid conventions like Mermania in the USA or the Mermates Convention in Belgium where hundreds of merpeople get together.
Many mermaids and mermen class themselves as ocean defenders and create awareness for the underwater realm.
For people that are new to mermaiding it is recommended to join a professional mermaid school. Mermaid Kat Academy opened in August 2012 and was the first public mermaid school in the world. Today it has branches in Germany, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Austria. Now there are also other institutions such as the SSI mermaid school and others that also offer different mermaid training programs.
Generally, there is no age limit in mermaiding but participants must be experienced swimmers. Some mermaid tail companies and mermaid schools are requiring a minimum age of 8 years before starting mermaiding.