Have you ever asked yourself what the difference between a personal mermaid tail and a performance mermaid tail is? I have broken down what I consider a professional grade vs a recreational tail through my own experiences and common discussion with fellow professionals.
Back in the day, when professional mermaiding was still new and not as popular, we only had three options of tails: silicone, make your own, or fabric. The fabric tails at the time were only fin fun which were fun to use and definitely a more affordable option, but they lacked the flare most mermaid's dream of. Many performers were able to use these as performance tails however as they became more accessible, many young kids began owning them. These highly accessible and kid friendly tail are now very commonly known and you cannot go to a mermaid pool party without one kid wearing one. Talk about ruining the mermaid magic! That is why for birthday parties, I'd recommend using a starter silicone tail like Mernation's Genesis line, a hybrid silicone like Mertailor's Spellbound line or Made By A Mermaid Basic Silicone line, or even a high quality fabric tail like the Finfolk Fabric line or Mertailor's Wimsey and Fantasy line. If birthday parties are your main source of income, I would advice against using a full silicone as kids and pools can be tough on your tail. Imagine damaging your $3,000-5,000 tail every summer! Many other mermaids used to talk poorly of fabric tails, but thanks to the innovations of popular tail makers, many professionals are actually switching over to high quality fabric. Just like birthday parties, some tank performers are also making the switch. Just remember, it is about the PERFORMANCE more than the tail but the tail always enhances the character.
For longer hours I’d recommend using a high quality fabric as they are easier to put on and take off, they are more breathable keeping you cooler, they are easier to move or reposition in, and they put way less stress on your joints. You can always use silicone but silicone gets HOT and its tight. I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 2 hours in any tail on the land.
Renting tails or mermaid makeovers for a photoshoot or class is much different than actual performing. This is where your cheaper more accessible and kid friendly tail come in! It is best to use a cheaper fabric tail like the fin fun or mertailor guppy since these are starter tails and easily replaceable. These are great for those who want to learn to become a mermaid or have very little experience in a tail.
When it comes to recreation, it is one hundred percent a personal preference! For me, I enjoy silicone the most but I do have some fabrics for recreation as well. Silicone feels the best to me when swimming as it is made to my measurements and fits like a glove, it is the most "realistic" out of all the tail options, I enjoy the texture of the tail, and I enjoy the way it looks. For travelling, I stick with fabric as it is easier to transport. Fabric tails allow me to jump in and out of the water while swimming at meetups or conventions, it is easier to take to some photo locations where you need to hike or climb to get to your spot, and the mataniance is so much easier in comparison to silicone!
No matter the tail, we are all mermaids. A good rule of thumb when deciding your professional tail vs your recreational tail is do not show up to a gig in a tail the kids might also have! What is your favorite type of tail?