A new business is launching in Wollongong this month to help make mermaiding safer and more enjoyable.
Mermaiding is spreading globally and recently made headlines after parents were warned about the potential dangers of ‘mermaid tail’ pool toys.
The founder of new business No Ripples agrees the practice of swimming in a costume mermaid tail should be carefully controlled.
But when done safely, Bowral woman Michaela Werner says mermaiding is a fun way to stay fit.
Mrs Werner, a qualified AustSwim instructor, used mermaiding to stay in shape after three babies in two years.
The 36-year-old is sharing what she knows with others by launching Australia’s first mermaid fitness academy for children and adults at the Continental Pool in North Wollongong.
“Mermaiding is a water activity where a person swims through the water like a fish, wearing a monofin and a mermaid tail,” she said.
Ms Werner is already getting bookings and is also planning courses at Ian Thorpe Pool, Sydney.
As the mother of three toddlers, Ms Werner urges parents not to take risks. While there have been no reported mermaid tail drownings in Australia, she said if children were too young, not competent swimmers and did not have adult supervision, things could get out of hand quickly.
Mrs Werner thinks children should be at least seven and be able to swim independently for 25m to do it.
The first thing she teaches is a basic swimming technique for keeping your head above water. Even adults’ swimming abilities are tested before they are allowed to participate in a mermaid fitness class.
“When it comes to water and kids, most people are worried about safety. And they have a good reason,’’ she said.
‘’Kids love playing in and near water and little girls would love to swim like mermaids. We are there to show them how to do it safely.”
Mermaid experience courses for children aged between seven and 14 start on January 9 from 2.30pm at Continental Pool. A mermaid fitness course for adults starts at 3.30pm.
Information at http://www.noripples.com.au.