>>>A professional mermaid
Foto: Sirenas Mediterranean Academy

A professional mermaid

Blurring the boundary between reality and fantasy to bring these mythological creatures to life. From the Mediterranean to the Pacific, 'mermaiding' is the new trendy water sport.
lysses asked to be tied to the mast of his boat and made his sailors put wax plugs in their ears so they wouldn’t succumb to the mermaids’ bewitching song. Ariel longed to have legs so she could no longer be a mermaid and win her prince’s heart. But stories change. Now, ‘mermaiding’ is all the rage, as a form of artistic expression and a fun way of keeping fit by pretending to be a mermaid. A number of academies around the world give you the chance to become one yourself. Alternatively, the male version, a messenger god from the depths of the sea, allows men to play out being Triton.
Becoming a mermaid is a good idea for a hen party activity.
Foto: Sirenas Mediterranean Academy

Conquering the seas

The PMSA has set up the International Mermaid Swimming Instructors Association. This association aims to train future professionals and encourage awareness and the expansion of mermaiding across the world by certifying specially equipped centres to teach the discipline.

Sirenas Mediterranean Academy was founded by Susana Seuma, who always felt a special soft spot for the sea. After using water as therapy following an accident, she set up this experience in Tarragona (Spain).
Feeling like a mermaid is a question of attitude but the costume does help. The brightly coloured outfits fit like a glove to the lower half of the body, concealing the legs completely. They’re made from hard-wearing materials designed to tolerate activities in salty or chlorinated water and stay in perfect condition.
Lessons usually last around 90 minutes.
Foto: Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy (PMSA)
After a theory briefing describing the basic safety measures, it’s time to get into the water. In your very first session you learn the basic movements for swimming with a tail. This first swim always takes place in a swimming pool under careful supervision. The next step is getting in the sea. You learn to perfect your technique in salt water, where you can really start enjoying yourself to the full.
All academies offer you the chance to buy your own mermaid costume.
Foto: Sirenas Mediterranean Academy
“The sensation that everyone describes is that of feeling like a fish. They also comment on the speed you get while swimming with one fin, and when you have the experience in the sea, the adjective people use the most is freedom” Seuma tells me.
Mermaids don’t give kisses away lightly. To blow a kiss under water you need to do some training. In addition to learning how to swim with a tail, you’ll also master other techniques such as controlling your breathing and flicking your dolphin tail in style at Sirenas Mediterranean Academy.
Across the Pacific Ocean is the Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy (PMSA), a pioneering mermaiding centre. In the Philippines, the possibilities are endless because of the huge number of locations on offer. You can take the fairy tale one step further on the beaches of Batangas and Boracay, where they practise ‘Scuba Mermaid’. In this diving discipline, you not only get a tail but also an air tank to enable you to breathe underwater.
Toning your glutes and abdominals is a good excuse for dressing up in a colourful outfit. And putting on a tail even improves your self-esteem, thanks to the levelling power of water, according to Michelle Forsbrey, owner of the Mayim Mermaid Academy in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. At this centre, the play element is very important, with aquatic choreography and special themed parties.
Another of the aims of these academies is that of environmental education. They organise ecological activities like beach cleaning and they also hold talks on the diversity of the sea bed. The intention is to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the environment. If we don’t do this, mermaids will have to be like Ariel and ask for legs so they can leave the sea.

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