After the release of Disney’s The Little Mermaid way back in 1989, young girls around the world wanted to become a beautiful mermaid like Ariel. With a live-action remake coming in 2023, the time is now to learn how to swim with a mermaid tail before it’s too late! Satisfy your childhood dreams if you haven’t done so, or allow your daughter to become the mermaid you didn’t get a chance to be.
While swimming with a mermaid tail sounds like a magical time, the elephant in the room is that it can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to use a monofin, or if you simply aren’t a strong swimmer in the first place. Tail safety is of utmost importance, and this is a topic that needs to be covered in-depth to ensure the experience is memorable for all the right reasons.
To swim like a mermaid, you need to be proficient at using a monofin and doing the dolphin kick, sometimes referred to as a mermaid kick. You should split this up into different tasks – practicing just the dolphin kick first, then practicing the kick with the monofin on, then finally doing it in a mermaid outfit. Your body should move in a wave-like fashion much like a dolphin would.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how to swim with a mermaid tail including how to buy the right one and the techniques you should know to swim safely as a mermaid.
What does a mermaid tail consist of?
Sadly, mermaids aren’t real and we can’t literally become one. However, the closest thing you can do is dress up like one, and in order to do so, you need to know that mermaid tails consist of a monofin and a fabric tail skin.
The monofin is the large, rigid fin at the end of the tail that aids in swimming and is the reason why you have to use dolphin kicks instead of the usual flutter kicks.
The fabric tail skin wraps around your legs, covering them up and giving you the appearance that the lower half of your body is part fish instead of human. It’s worn over the monofin and has a slit on the bottom so that you can easily access the monofin.
Moving like a mermaid
According to legend, mermaids are graceful creatures that can literally swim circles around other ocean creatures using their powerful tails called flukes. The swimming motion is like that of a dolphin, producing a wave-like motion with their body. The human imitation of that is simply called the dolphin kick, or mermaid kick if you prefer.
To perform a mermaid kick, you need to move your feet and legs in synchrony. Try to imagine the motion of a wave. As your hips go down, your chest and shoulders move up, and when your shoulders go down, your hips go up in an undulating motion.
Bringing the monofin into the picture
After you’ve had sufficient practice doing dolphin kicks without wearing a monofin, it’s time to practice swimming with them on. Monofins are different from standard swim fins because they attach to both feet, meaning you are forced to perform the dolphin kick instead of the usual flutterkick.
The large surface area of the fin, and the fact that you need to be kicking with both legs at the same time, means that monofins can help you generate enormous thrust. It will also feel very tiring and awkward at first to kick with.
To start, you should be in shallow water and hold onto the edge of the pool. Assume a horizontal position while still holding onto the pool’s edge and practice the mermaid kick with monofins on. If even this is too much, then you can start with half of your body on the pool deck, and the other half in the water.
The next step is to move from the safety of the wall and put a pool noodle under your armpits. Now practice actually moving around in shallow water with the mermaid kick, using the pool noodle as your flotation device.
After you’re comfortable with that, it’s time to practice swimming underwater. A good starting point is to push yourself from a wall to create the initial momentum, and then do the dolphin kick to stay in motion. To maximize speed, either keep your hands extended and together in front of you, or just keep them firmly stuck to your sides for a more streamlined appearance.
You are essentially just practicing a dolphin kick when preparing to swim like a mermaid. I recommend swimming without the monofins first because if you mess up, you can just resort to using flutter kicks. Monofins should only be worn once you’re proficient at the dolphin kick so that you at least know how to swim with one on.
How to buy a mermaid tail
The first thing you’ll realize, especially when shopping online, is that low-quality knock-off products are plentiful. With something like a mermaid tail that can directly affect your safety, you need to be vigilant not to fall for a scam.
If the tail skin is made with fabric materials that absorb water, then the mermaid tail can become extremely heavy and life-threatening. The monofins can also be made with cheap materials that don’t allow it to generate sufficient thrust. So how can you avoid all of these pitfalls? Here’s how:
- Buy from a reputable company. Make sure the company is established and has a history of satisfied customers. I don’t mean this to be discriminatory, but generally speaking you shouldn’t buy from foreign companies that make low quality knockoffs. Carefully read customer reviews and google the company itself to see if it has a good or bad reputation. Some personal recommendations are: Mertailor, Finfolk Productions, Finfun, and Aquamermaid.
- Scrutinize the reviews. Unfortunately, even the reviews can be faked. That is why I like to read reviews where the customer clearly has tried the product instead of just saying “good” or “doesn’t work”. I also like to read three star reviews, since these are, most of the time, the most well-rounded, thoughtful reviews.
- Find a mermaid community. You can’t be the only one who has the desire to become a mermaid. Find a group, such as a Facebook group or even a local group, that has all the resources to answer your mermaiding questions. There are likely to be some professional mer in the group as well.
Frequently asked questions
Can you actually swim in a mermaid tail or is it for cosplay only?
Yes, you can actually swim in a mermaid tail assuming that you purchased one from a reputable seller. The fabric should not absorb too much water and the monofin should be large and sturdy enough to generate enough thrust to swim with.
That said, you can just wear the mermaid tail at home for cosplay purposes. Just make sure that you do not damage the tail by rubbing it against rough surfaces. Also, the mermaid tail is a massive tripping hazard for you, so always be near a wall or something that you can reach out and grab to maintain balance.
How should a monofin fit?
Both your feet should fit into a monofin, all the way up to your ankles. You will need to find a monofin foot pocket that fits your feet snug. Generally speaking, fins should fit tight enough so that you can barely squeeze in two fingers into the foot pocket. If you can fit more fingers than that, then it’s too loose and will likely slip off when you perform a kick.
Why is there a hole at the bottom of my mermaid tail?
The opening is so that the monofin can be put on and easily removed without having to take off the fabric tail skin. Being able to access the monofin at all times is a safety feature.
How do you wash a mermaid tail?
If you want your mermaid tail to last a long time, you need to know how to care for it. You should never put it in the washing machine or dryer. Hand wash it in lukewarm soapy water. Hot water can damage or shrink the materials. When drying, hang dry it in a ventilated area, out of direct sunlight.
Can I buy a monofin separately?
Yes, you can buy a monofin separately. However, it will not be decorated like a mermaid tail, so it will look out of place unless you decorate it yourself.
The benefit of owning a monofin is that you can just use it normally without the mermaid costume. Monofins are used in many water sports as a swimming aid, so they are highly versatile.