PADI Mermaid™ Courses & Photography
"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a mermaid. Then always be a mermaid."
My name is Anna Tomppo. I’m a PADI Mermaid Instructor, freediver and scuba diver. I’m also a photographer and oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
My underwater photography adventures started in 2013. In 2016 I developed a passion for fantasy portrait photography. Soon enough I wanted to combine these two genres and nowadays I mostly photograph mermaids and other folks who are not afraid to get wet.
Thinking back, my journey below the surface was a bit rough shadowed by bad experiences from mandatory school swimming lessons. Even as an adult, I did not find water an enjoyable element – especially if there was a chance to get water up my nose. Freediving and mermaid diving have taught me how to be confident and smooth underwater. For the past 10 years, diving in all its forms has been my favourite form of exercise and relaxation.
Mer-divers’ mission is to bring a dash of fantasy into everyday life and promote safe mermaiding culture and practises.
See you underwater!
Mermaid diving is a combination of freediving and self-expression, and everyone can add their own flavour to it. Since nobody should dive alone, a bonus in mermaiding is making new friends. The sport also involves other fun aspects, such as designing your own merfolk persona (also known as mersona) with a matching outfit. Despite its name, mermaid diving is suitable for both men and women. In many languages, the term “mermaid” translates to human fish and does not refer to gender. In Finland, the sport is also called tail diving.
Mermaiding can be practiced both in a swimming pool and in natural waters. Mermaids can also be spotted at various events and aquariums in Finland and abroad.
Moving weightlessly in the water feels amazing and it’s easy to get hooked on mermaiding! Understanding the basics of human physiology, the physics of being in the water, and safe practices is essential in order to enjoy the sport to the fullest.
Enrolling in a PADI course is the easiest and safest way to start mermaiding or to acquire more knowledge and skills.
The internationally popular PADI Mermaid courses are now available in Finland!
PADI, i.e. Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is the world’s largest organization that issues diving certifications and provides training standards. It operates in 186 countries and certifies more than a million divers per year. With PADI courses, you learn the necessary information and safe practices for mermaid diving. In addition, students naturally hone diving techniques and various water skills.
The students meeting the learning goals will receive an internationally recognized digital certification card, which can be used to prove that they have sufficient training to practice the sport. For example, in a swimming pool, a lifeguard may ask your certification card if they cannot otherwise make sure that the divers know how to act according to the safety protocols of apnea sports.
Mer-divers offers the following courses. Please note that participation in the course requires filling out a diver’s medical form and, if necessary, a medical examination to ensure fitness to dive. You can familiarize yourself with the necessary forms and the privacy statement in the forms section.
Mer-divers’ students are insured for the duration of the course dives.
- Mask and snorkel
- Bi-fins aka regular (freediving) fins
- Monofin (and a mermaid tail)
- If you wear a wetsuit, take along a weight belt and diving weights in small increments
You can rent a mermaid tail and monofin from Mer-divers. Our selection includes Finfolk’s wonderful scuba knit discovery tails and Mermaid Linden monofins for smooth diving. Mer-divers also has a limited number of bi-fins and weights that can be borrowed.
PADI Basic Mermaid™
The PADI Mermaid training program starts with the Basic course. It is an effective package of theory and water skills, and the course covers everything essential for starting the hobby. It also creates a good foundation for learning more challenging skills in the next courses. You don’t need previous experience in diving or swimming with a monofin, so everyone interested in mermaiding is welcome to join! The prerequisite is the ability to swim 25 meters on the surface and float for 3 minutes without aids. Minimum age 6 years. The course includes online lecture and one pool session.
The Mermaid course is perfect for those who are really interested in mermaiding! This course can be carried out as a single unit with the Basic course or as a follow-up course to a previously completed Basic course. You’ll practice different tricks and refine diving technique. In addition, you’ll learn to use freediving exercises to achieve longer breath hold and therefore longer bottom time safely. You should be able to swim 50 meters without aids and float for 5 minutes. Minimum age 10 years. The course includes online self-study material in English, theory teaching and two pool sessions.
PADI Advanced Mermaid™
This is an advanced course for those who already have completed the PADI Mermaid course. In this course, you’ll dive into natural waters and learn how to handle diving related emergencies. Many divers think that practicing rescue skills feels especially rewarding and it is your ability to help that can save someone else’s life. Watch the video below where PADI mermaid students helped a scuba diver in distress.
The prerequisite is the ability to swim 100 meters without aids and a 10-minute float. Minimum age 12 years. The course includes online self-study material in English, theory teaching and two diving sessions.
Underwater photography is well suited for boudoir, trash the dress and maternity photos, as well as gravity-defying, fairytale-like portraits. You don’t have to hold your breath for long, 10-15 seconds at a time is more than enough. During the session, I guide you with breathing technique and give posing cues. An assistant is always available on the set, or a safety diver, if we are shooting in water where the feet do not touch the bottom.
I offer pre-styled sets, but it is also possibe to plan your own unique underwater photoshoot from scratch. Underwater portrait packages start from 690€ including 3 post-processed digital images.
Mer-divers summer courses for students -20%
Are you looking for a new hobby for the summer? PADI Basic Mermaid courses are available per request in Espoo 3.6.-10.8.2023, at a price of 200€ per person.
If you are studying towards an academic degree (vocational/upper secondary or higher education), you get the Basic Mermaid course with a 20% discount at a price of 160€. Limited availability.
Looking for a PADI mermaid course?
All course levels are available as private lessons or for groups of 2-4 persons. Inquiries via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The instructor for all courses is PADI Mermaid Instructor Anna Tomppo.
You’ll find upcoming courses also on Instagram. Follow Mer-divers, and you will be among the first to know about new events.
Mer-divers in media
Read a report about doing PADI Basic Mermaid™ course with Mer-divers on Out of Office blog.
Sukeltaja magazine published an article about mermaiding and diving safety. Mer-divers was interviewed for the story.
Forms and documents
PADI Mermaid Course: participation requires the completion of a diver medical form and Statement of Risk and Liability / Non-Agency Acknowledgment forms. In addition, the mermaid diving safety rules are reviewed and signed at the beginning of the course.
Contact us if you want to ask about the forms before the course starts. Students of Mer-divers are insured for the duration of the course dives.
Underwater photography: The terms of the photoshoot serve as a basis for customer photography contracts. Send a message if you want to book a shoot, but you need broader usage rights for the images.