Many Metal fans have other interesting hobbies besides music – or even a very special job. We present one special hobby as a nice seasonal match: Mermaiding.
Feared by seafarers and popular topic of legends, where sirens lure to certain death in deep blue seas or where water spirit magic sinks ships with huge waves. Indeed, mermaids and mer-men hardly had a good image among sailors and mariners. This might have changed with Disney’s „Arielle“, and many were so fascinated by those mythical creatures that they wanted to turn into one themselves.
A hobby named „Mermaiding“, however, has nothing to do with splashing water fun. A so-called Monofin that squeezes your legs together into a “fish tail”, means full-body-work-out no matter which material it is made of. There are Monofins made of fabric (50 Euro) and silicone (ab 400 Euro) and other materials. A very detailed and colored skin is especially expensive, and many companies specialized in custom made products with prices in the 4-digit-range. Such Monofins, however, cannot be recommended to beginners because of their stiffness which makes it much harder to stay above water.
More about Mermaiding directly from a mermaid and a merman…
Mermaid Starr St. Julien,
… 24, from USA, is a big fan of Mötley Crüe and Mastodon.
photo by Aaron Spicer
Starr, how did you get into Mermaiding and since when are you doing it?
I’ve known about the mermaid scene for a few years but I only got into it semi-professionally last summer.
Was it complicated to learn how to swim with a tail?
It wasn’t too hard for me to learn how to swim in the tail. When I was little, I would pretend to swim like a mermaid in a pool… so I just did the same motions with the tail on and it worked.
When you wear your tail, your legs are really pressed together and you can keep upon water only by using your arms. Isn’t that sometimes frightening, when you can’t move your legs? Do you always need a second person with you, to make sure you are safe?
I feel very comfortable in the tail, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want someone with me at all times. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are – anyone can start to struggle at any time, and if you fight against the water by yourself, you will lose.
What is so fascinating about Mermaiding?
The most fascinating thing about Mermaiding is how good it can make people feel about themselves. Swimming is incredibly freeing, adding a “magical” element to it makes it even more so.
Do you have any advice to someone who would like to start this hobby
My advice would be to go for it – but definitely start out with an inexpensive tail that’s easy to swim in so you get used to having your legs stuck together.
What is the tail made of and how many do you own?
My tail is made of a thick scuba fabric and was made by Swimtails. Right now I only have one, but I hope to get another this summer.
Do you see Mermaid/Merman swimming as a hobby or as sports?
«I personally view Mermaiding as a hobby but I can definitely see it being a sport. It requires a lot of physical exertion and hard work.»
What is the best/ what is the worst about it?
The best part about Mermaiding is the exercise and the feeling of freedom you have in water that you don’t have on land. The worst part would probably be the occasional “gatekeepers” in the community, but those are few and far between. In general, the community has been very welcoming and kind.
I know that some people are living from mermaid swimming and shootings they do, how is it for you? Would you like to make your living from it?
Mermaiding is less of a way to make money and more of a hobby for me. I do get hired for festivals, events and parties, but it’s not my primary job. The money is excellent if you market yourself well and are able to get consistent gigs.
If you could listen to music during your swim, which Metal/ Rock song would be the one you choose?
A song I’d like to listen to while swimming isn’t a rock or metal song – it’s the Dire, Dire Docks theme from Super Mario 64 DS specifically.
Do you think Metal music and Mermaiding fits together?
I think metal and rock music fits well with Mermaiding. Mermaids can breathe underwater, drown sailors, and swim with sharks. That’s pretty metal to me.
Follow Starr at www.instagram.com/ultraviolince
There are also males interested into this hobby, especially after the Aquaman movie (although Jason Momoa never wore a fin in the movie). And yes, the males cut an excellent figure as mythical creatures…
Merman Chris Riel
… 25, from Germany, Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy are the faves on his turn table.
Chris, how did you get into the Merman hobby?
When meeting a mermaid at a Florida beach she told me there is this store called ‘mertailor’ in Crystal Springs/Florida who makes mermaid tails. So me and my boyfriend decided to visit the store and I was overwhelmed from seeing all these tails so I decided I wanna make my childhood fantasy become reality.
What is so fascinating about this hobby?
Mermaids and Mermen are mythical creatures so there are basically no limits on how they can look and what they can do. You’re able to do whatever you want.
The best part is the swimming especially in beautiful tropical places.
How much does this hobby cost? What material is the tail made of and how many do you own?
They are made of silicone and neoprene on the inside. I currently own 5 tails.
Silicone tails start at 2000$ and go up to 6000$
Of course there are fabric tails and monofins for beginners that are beautiful and great for swimming. If anyone is interested in buying some there is a link in my Instagram bio.
Do you have any advice to someone who would like to start this hobby?
Start with a monofin and fabric tail. Swimming as a mermaid is not as easy as it looks and you wanna make sure to stay safe. You need to be a good swimmer without a tail
Never practice alone; always with a friend.
Was it complicated to learn swimming with a tail?
The hard part is to learn that you’re not supposed to bend your knees and rather do an entire body wave. I was a good swimmer before starting mermaiding so it was not too hard for me.
If you could listen to music during your swim, which Metal/Rock song would be the one you choose?
The perfect song for a fierce merman swim is ‘Anthem’ – Good Charlotte.
Do you think the music fits together with the image of a mermaid/merman?
It does. It can be hard and strong like man swimming through the water with some powerful tail kicks but also tell a story. Whatever story you wanna tell
What band should have a video with you as a merman in it?
Fall Out Boy to Centuries – Best Song Ever!
Do you see Merman swimming as a hobby or as sports?
Definitely as a hobby. I’m an Equestrian participating in competitions and want mermading just be a fun part of my life. I’m very lucky to be able to make good money out of merman modeling, so my hobby kind of turned Into the best sideline ever.
What is the best/worst about it?
The best part is the swimming. You’re so much faster with a tail than without! Also discovering underwater life is so much fun. The more fish an sea creatures there are the better.
The worst is the pain that causes wearing a tail after some time. The feet are stretched in an unnatural position and this can really hurt. Also my feet are full of blisters
How is it with safety, when you wear a tail, isn’t it frighting sometimes and do you always need someone around that can help you in an emergency?
The special kind of swimming technique is something you have to get used to, but as soon as you are it feels great and natural. You really don’t need legs. Fins are so much easier to swim than legs.
I’m a better swimmer wit a tail than I am without.
When I’m doing photoshoots in the ocean or with wild animals there are always SCUBA-divers around to help me in case of an emergency.
What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people you are a merman??
Most people first think I’m kidding because they don’t know what it means and what I’m doing, but they are usually pretty curious and wanna know everything about it. They love it and most people wanna try swimming in a tail
Interested in Mermaiding?
There are actually everywhere Mermaiding Clubs or Communities everywhere that can help you to get started in this hobby. At a few community pools they even offer courses where you can try this hobby, but sometimes it’s wise to bring your own tail that fits your body type. So it definitely doesn’t matter if you are male or female, if you are tall, small, big or skinny, at mermaiding everyone is absolutely welcome and especially men who want to try to be another Aquaman with tail.
So have fun trying to become a Mermaid or Merman in the coming summer months better than with swimming as a Mermaid or Mermen – but watch out, don’t get snagged by a sailor!
A huge thank you goes to societyoffatmermaids who helped us searching for some Heavy Metal Mermaids & Mermen.
Opener photo: Starr St Julien by Jingle Photography, photos Chris: s.marco_photography