Thanks to countless stories, cartoons, and animated movies, many people grew up wondering what it might be like to become a mermaid or merman. Luckily for them, one of the largest world scuba diving training organizations is teaching the art of mermaiding to a whole new generation of freedivers. Although the techniques are difficult to learn, mermaiding is becoming a big trend in China!
Mermaid Diving Certifications
PADI or the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is now offering four different certification levels of mermaid diving. This freediving technique involves the use of a rather heavy artificial tail that doesn’t allow the legs to move freely. Rather, the wearer must learn to rely on abdominal muscles and swim like a dolphin. The leading progenitor of mermaiding is the first Chinese woman to obtain a PADI’s Master freediving training certification – Dada Li.
The Art of Movement Comes to Light
Inspired by the movie “Splash” in the 1980s, Dada Li pursued her freediving dreams and created a professional freediving underwater performance team – the first of its kind. She explains that, due to the weight and nature of the prosthetic tail, it takes a lot of practice to make the movements elegant like a mermaid. As the first female freediving instructor in China, Li now holds the position of PADI ambassador.
Worldwide Standardized Mermaiding
Over the last decade, standardized training and certifications for mermaid diving have spread throughout the world. Corinna Davids from Scuba Schools International explains that their mermaiding programs are in over 3,000 diving schools worldwide and more than 1,000 instructors in China alone. She founded a performance diving team in China consisting only of part-time mermaids that commonly perform during water sport events, aquariums, and other venues. Offering people the option of becoming certified mermaids has increased the issuing of diving licenses by 40% in China alone in 2018! The trend is still picking up speed with no signs of slowing down!