Mermaiding 101

Do you have the chops to make it as a mermaid or merman?

Mermaiding 101
Mermaiding 101Shutterstock

Among Europeans it's the new, hot water sport for kids 9 to 14 years old, and now it's spread to the U.S. Mermaiding, though, is not just a sport; it's also popular for cosplay. (That's dressing up in a costume to attend events such as Comic-Con and the like.) Do you have the chops to make it as a mermaid, or as a merman, "mer" or "pod," as it's known in the community? Professional schools are popping up, such as the LA Mermaid School in Venice Beach, California ( taught by Coast Guard-certified "finstructors," who are also the same mermaids (and mermen) that appear in film and television shows. The class costs $50 and lasts an hour.

For a more complete personal transition, there's World of Swimming All Certified Mermaid School in Detroit, Michigan. Each instructor is a certified U.S. coach and a mermaid instructor, and, according to WSACMS's website (worldofswimming​.org), "this unique class combines swimming, gymnastics, fitness and transformation to magic water creatures." In other words, swimmers of all ages learn to master the dolphin kick (submerged on both stomach and back), summersaults and mer-surfacing, all to music. The school teaches classes in mermaid swimming technique and ­mermaid underwater theater — a bargain at just $225 each.