Ever since I became a scuba diver, I’ve always been curious on other diving/swimming discipline apart from recreational scuba diving; eg- freediving and mermaiding. I’ve been wanting to learn more about it but keep putting it off cuz I’m the sort of person who likes being accompanied when I’m trying new things, and my circle of friends and scuba buddies aren’t exactly keen on both freediving or mermaiding. Granted, I dive mostly in limited vis and most of my regular scuba buddies are those of opposite sex and they kinda have a misconceptions that mermaiding is just a girlish thing and real men have no business of participating.
But when I saw that Onshore Mermaid was organising a somewhat open day event, and is allowing the public an access to the event to find out what mermaiding is all about, I decided that enough is enough.
It’s time for me to move forward and go find out more about this interesting diving discipline, with or without buddies.
And so I went to the Onshore Mermaid Carnival and had a blast learning how to be a mermaid with my husband and son. Yeaaaaa…Back in 2019 I dragged my husband to go discover scuba with me…fast forward to 2022 I dragged him to try mermaid with me.
So, what’s mermaiding is all about? Well, simply put, mermaiding is where you don a monofin/mermaid tail and swim or dive underwater with it. It’s a form of sport that incorporates both swimming and freediving in an artistic way, and it gives you freedom to express yourselves underwater.
If you think that mermaiding is only for women, and only those with supermodel type of body shape, then you are terribly wrong. On the contrary, it promotes body positivity where you are encouraged to self love and embrace your body shape and feel good about it. It is also not gender biased-totally the opposite, actually. There are many merman out there, and trust me, there are alot of mermaid instructors out there who are actually men. Yes. Majority of the mermen are out there are straight, and most are happily married with kids in tow.
To be honest, I have no idea why people think this is a sissy sport just because most lady mermaids tend to doll up and look beautifully presentable . It’s a sport that requires high level of fitness and strength, I kid you not. It takes alot of stamina to swim like a mermaid. Swimming with a monofin is definitely not an easy feat.
Anyway, enough babbling. Let’s get back to the Onshore Mermaid Carnival event. We were treated to a real underwater carnival where certified SSI mermaids from all walks of life performed their moves underwater.
Although we didn’t signed up for the full Try Mermaid course during the carnival, but there’s activity session and we were taught how to swim, water thread and learn how to do the mermaid wave-kinda swim like a dolphin. All done in a 5 meters deep pool. Okay, as a scuba diver I’d say a 5m pool is very shallow but when you take away all the scuba gears from me, it’s kinda very scary for me. I keep imagining…gosh, it’s 5m deep and I wont be able to breathe down there. (Obviously I also don’t have basic freediving skills)
We’re supposed to submerge ourselves in the pool as well but I kinda failed that part cuz I keep floating up. But I was told it’s okay, cuz it takes repetitive practice to do that.
I got to say that it’s totally different thing from scuba, swimming or even freediving. It kinda train your cardio and your core, and I’m surprised it uses some muscles that I’ve never used before. Similar to Taichi and Taichi weapons, I learned that the strength for mermaid movements also comes from the waist. That said, I feel my back kinda had a good stretchy relief.
Here’s sharing with you a picture with our SSI Mermaid Instructor, Carmen. She was the one in charge of us that day. She’s a really lovely lady and a very patient instructor. God knows that yours truly isn’t the easiest student to teach.
I had so much fun during the event that now I’m scheming to at least go for the full SSI Try Mermaid course with the hubs and kid. We’ll see how it goes.
Similar to scuba and freediving, there’s alot of levels in SSI Mermaid too, and like scuba diving, you’re only encourage to go further if you’re comfortable in advancing to the next level, so there’s no forced commitment there.
I got to say that thanks to the Onshore Mermaid Carnival, at least now my husband don’t think that mermaiding is such a girlish sport anymore cuz of the skills you need to perform when you’re mermaiding is not exactly easy to master and kinda takes lotsa stamina.😂
Last but not least, if you’re already a SSI student but not a mermaid, check out your MySSI apps, you can get the Try Mermaid manual for free. Onshore Mermaid is under SSI umbrella- (Scuba Schools International). Contact them HERE if you you’re interested to find out more about SSI Mermaid.
Disclaimer: Pictures credit to Onshore Mermaid official event photographers:
Ben (Bee Scuba) , Daniel, Loke Ee, Federick, Hungzhan, Latip
Note: Special thanks to mermaid instructor Amy Cheng and Carmen Hui for making everything a pleasant experience.