Looking to get into that graceful photogenic dance below the waves, but have no idea where to start? It’s an experience and skill like no other: Appearing natural when posing is difficult for most topside fashion models, let alone pulling it off when underwater, dressed as a mermaid. Joyce Ng – one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting mermaids – takes UW360 through the process of becoming one, and the experience of being on a sub-aqua shoot.

1. Always Stretch

Before a dive, remember to stretch your legs and warm up before you swim in your mermaid tail. The mermaid tail is rigid, which means that your legs can easily cramp.

2. Fabric Tail

When looking for a tail, it’s good to start with a fabric mermaid tail (with a monofin/flipper inside) before you move onto silicone. Silicone mermaid tails appear more “realistic” but are heavier than fabric, and are much more difficult to control.

3. Pool Sessions

Always practice in a pool first. Make sure you can swim comfortably with the mermaid tail before you swim in the sea.

4. Master the Dolphin Kick

Try to learn the “dolphin kick” when swimming with a monofin. Kicking the tail with your legs alone will not “look good”, as this movement is not an effective mermaid swimming technique.

5. Know your Setting

Make sure you look around before entering the water to see if there is anything harmful in the immediate vicinity, such as sea urchins or fire coral.

6. Start Soft

Beginners should always choose mermaid tails with softer monofins as it takes time to build up leg muscle to use stiff monofins effectively.

7. Buddy Up

Have a buddy accompany you when you swim with your mermaid tail. As your legs are tightly set in the tail, you may not be able to get your legs out immediately if there are any emergencies.

8. Get Comfortable

Mermaids typically do not wear masks, but it is good to practice swimming with a mask at first. This is to get comfortable with the thought of being underwater.

9. Remain Aware

If you swim in the sea, please be both aware and careful of damaging the coral. A mermaid tail substantially adds to your body length. When you kick with your fluke or are touching the bottom, you may disrupt fragile coral.

10. Safety First

Always consider your safety first, and don’t push yourself past your limit.

Taken from Asian Diver’s DIVERAHOLIC, volume 145

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