Anyone who has watched children play pretend knows how much pleasure they derive from assuming the roles of their favourite fairy tale characters – better still, if they have story-appropriate paraphernalia to accompany their vivid imaginations. For all those little ones who love Ariel from The Little Mermaid and secretly wish they could trade places with her, Australian designer Kazzie Mahina has created MerFins, flat fish tail-shaped feet accessories, to be worn while swimming.
During her childhood, like many other little girls, Mahina was fascinated by mermaids and would play the part while exploring the coastal waters of New South Wales. The mythical sea creatures intrigued her even into adulthood, and years later, with help from special effects and environmental experts, the Byron Bay creative started making colourful mermaid fins from recycled rubber complete with corresponding 'scaled' leggings and bikinis.
Like its snorkelling flipper counterpart, the Merfin is soft, flexible and functional, allowing the user to wear it at the ankles and swim with the speed and agility of a fish. In addition, from a safety perspective, the fins can be quickly detached in water with a single flick.
Best of all, the design promotes sustainability and social responsibility through the creation of a special interest group called MerPod, aimed at educating youngsters about environmental conservation and protection. Through a tie-up with the Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society, members can partake in educational activities and beach clean ups. Successful participation provides opportunities to release sea turtles rehabilitated by the Australian Seabird Rescue Team.
The idea of mermaiding may not be universally appealing, but it is worth acknowledging that the water toy is a rather innovative way for kids to have fun in the water and live out their most mysterious fantasies.
Find out more at the Oceanika Merfins homepage