The mermaid has been an alluring figure from ancient art to modern pop culture, and some women want to go one step further towards actually becoming a siren. The want a mermaid tail they can actually swim in.
Do You Want to be a Mermaid?
There are a lot of options to help you express your inner mermaid with a functional tailfin! These range from very basic flippers to extremely detailed but water-suitable costumes (referred to in the industry as "swimmable").
Please bear in mind that even costumes that can be submerged may not be suitable for all people and environments. Please play safe!
The most famous mermaids with fully swimmable tails are the professional mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs. They perform a full underwater show 365 days a year, and also appear in a rather glamorous calendar.
This attraction has been open since 1947. It captures how the mermaid encompassed wholesome innocence and pin-up beauty in one perfect aquatic package. However, most commentator thought things were getting a little out of when the show was added to the Homeland Security watchlist of potential sites that might be targeted by terrorists,
A tail can also be a more meaningful addition, a form of effortless mobility that a person might have lost on land through injury or disability.
Nadya Vessey lost both legs below the knee. But that didn't matter when she wore the tail made for her by Weta Productions. Made out of functional wet-suit material and embellished with hand painted scales.
For the average person who just wants to play mermaid in their swimming pool there is a dazzling array of costuming options.
Merfolk Tails is the division of Fox Moon Productions devoted to making functional mermaid tails. Their basic tail is made out of a fin and spandex cover and retails for around $175. Aqua Tails have a similar design and price point, with children's sizes. Other producers include: Fin Fun, the Mertailer, Oceanika, and 3 Fins
* A Note About Zentai: Mermaid tails can be integrated into a full coverage body suit, called a zentai. But this type of costume is too dangerous to wear in the water even if the tail is potentially functional.
In deep water or areas with currents it is safer to use just a monofin, which you can kick off if you get in any trouble. Most of these are sized for children.
An advanced monofin based on a dolphin, the Lunocet is part of the ambitious subhuman project that aims to develop 'bio-mimetic' technology. This meter-wide fin is made of carbon fiber.
Kokai, J. A. (2011). Weeki Wachee Girls and Buccaneer Boys: The Evolution of Mermaids, Gender, and" Man versus Nature" Tourism. Theatre History Studies, 31(1), 67-89.
Barounis, Cynthia. "Special Affects: Mermaids, Prosthetics, and the Disabling of Feminine Futurity." WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 44.1 (2016): 188-204.
Mueller, J. E. (2006). Overblown: How politicians and the terrorism industry inflate national security threats, and why we believe them. Simon and Schuster.