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Thread: Archive: "My MVD silicone tail review"

  1. #1

    Archive: "My MVD silicone tail review"

    This is an archived thread that was originally posted on, the predecessor to MerNetwork. For more information about, click here.


    Posts: 109
    03/29/11 09:59:29
    Tags [Edit]: None


    My tail from Mike is really beautiful. He's a true artist. I began the process of ordering it from him last year.

    I decided to splurge on the cost of a silicone tail because I swim in mermaid tails weekly, so I knew that it would be worth it. I have a neoprene tail and a latex tail from other makers, but the photos of Mike's tails and the positive discussions about him here really drew me to his work. And I'm so glad to have done so!

    I found him to be incredibly professional, polite, and filled with integrity. When he promised something by a certain date, he either delivered it or contacted me to let me know when it would be shipped. When I asked him to make a minor adjustment to the tail (with the monofin strap), he was extremely accomodating and polite about it. He wouldn't accept extra money for the adjustment, either.

    Mike is a great communicator. Yes, it took him a few days to get back to me when I initially contacted him -- but with good reason, because he was busy making other tails, plus his school work and landscaping business. He juggles a lot!

    Once we started the tail-building process, he kept in steady contact with me. He'd send photos, and ask for my opinion on color and tail shape, etc. It was refreshing!

    You can see the photo of the tail on my profile picture. I don't know how to post it here in posts yet, but if someone could import the photo onto this post, that'd be great. The colors are saturated, really clear and bright. They're exactly the colors I'd asked for.

    It's a heavy, heavy tail -- at least 35 to 40 pounds. But once it's in the water, it's neutrally buoyant. The silicone stretches really well, so it's easy to put on, especially in the water. The silicone sticks to the skin when I put it on outside of the water. But in the water, it slides right on.

    Mike's monofins are a one-pocket variety, so both feet are together with one stretchy strap. I'm not sure yet if I think this is more comfortable or less comfortable for swimming. And you still have to put one foot in at a time, just like with standard two-feet monofins. I asked him to make the fin blade extra-stiff for ocean swimming, and he did a great job of this. We had to adjust the strap a bit, so that my feet would stay tight in the foot pockets while swimming, as the ankle area of the silicone is very stretchy, so it doesn't hold your ankles in place. Mike was very happy to make this adjustment, and wouldn't take extra money for it.

    It's fast in terms of swimming underwater, which was one of the things I really wanted: form + function.

    I've been asked to compare it to latex and neoprene tails, so here are a few observations:

    * The latex tail paint chips, while the silicone colors don't.

    * Silicone colors are deeper, transparent, richer.

    * The silicone is MUCH heavier than the latex.

    * Silicone much more expensive

    * In terms of performance, my neoprene tail actually is the easiest and fastest to swim in, especially in heavy ocean currents. It just doesn't have the 3-D scale look of the latex and sillicone tails. made my neoprene tail. It's the teal one with gold fringe in my photos with the dolphins in my profile photo album called Mermaids.

    * The neoprene tails are easiest to put on and take off, and the lightest weight to carry.

    * On land, I can't move the silicone tail fluke once I'm in it. No flipping, flopping, or holding the tail at a different angle. The latex tail fluke is also heavy, but I can move it on land. And the neoprene tail fluke is super light and easy to move around in.

    * Silicone looks more realistic though . . .

    * The silicone tail that I'd previously bought from Eric the Mertailor is also beautiful, but it's a whole different type of tail and material. It's heavy, too. Its feel is latex, but the colors are imbedded and not chipping because of the silicone covering. It has a Finis Competitor monofin in it, which makes it a pretty fast tail to swim in. The straps are difficult to put on because the tail is super-tight around the ankles. Great for swim support once you're in the tail, though.

    I'd definitely recommend Mike as a great tail maker!

    Last Edited By: Winged Mermaid 04/01/11 15:41:05. Edited 2 times.
    SeaSparkles #1

    Posts: 337
    03/29/11 10:11:01
    * In terms of performance, my neoprene tail actually is the easiest and fastest to swim in, especially in heavy ocean currents. It just doesn't have the 3-D scale look of the latex and sillicone tails

    What about between latex and silicone for performance?
    AlohaMermaid #2

    Posts: 109
    03/29/11 10:21:22
    Aloha SeaSparkles,

    With the two latex tails I've used (both from Eric), it depended upon the monofin inside of it. His standard monofin has a floppy blade (it's a Finis Rapid), which doesn't hold well against ocean currents.

    The gold latex tail that I used for two Youtube videos has a Finis Competitor monofin which is super-fast. Here are the videos of the gold mertailor silicone tail:


    The silicone tail ankles are stretchy, which makes it more difficult to get a good push on your swim kicks. I've only been in the new silicone tail in the swimming pool so far and it was really fast -- I'm traveling right now, so won't have a chance to take it into the ocean until next month. But in the pool, I was able to do really fast laps with the silicone tail.
    AlohaMermaid #3

    Posts: 109
    03/29/11 10:49:42
    Yes I do know what you mean . . . For the photo in my profile, two people had to adjust my tail fluke for me. There was no possible way for me to move the tail with my feet (i.e., lifting my feet and moving them even an inch to either side).

    And this could also be because I asked Mike for a stiff blade for my monofin. Perhaps his normal silicone flukes aren't as heavy?

    But in the water, the tail has no weight at all

    Last Edited By: AlohaMermaid 03/29/11 10:52:01. Edited 1 time.
    AlohaMermaid #4

    Posts: 109
    03/29/11 10:53:30
    My silicone tail from Eric isn't nearly as heavy and I can move my tail on land with his tail . . . it's a different fabric than Mike's silicone. Eric's is like a latex with silicone coating. Still beautiful, just different.
    princesswizard #5

    Posts: 139
    03/31/11 15:46:21
    Great review! I really liked your gold tail also
    Winged Mermaid #6

    Posts: 884
    04/01/11 15:42:05
    Thank you so much for the review! I really appreciate the comparisons- for those of us who haven't owned or swum in the different tails it's great to know what the differences are!

    I went ahead and put in your picture in case you ever want to change your profile picture people know what you're referring to
    CydAdeTol #7

    Posts: 117
    04/01/11 16:53:04
    Your tail is my favorite of all of Mike's tails. The colors and shape are very different from everything else I have seen. And you look awesome in it!! Thanks for sharing it
    MermaidRaven #8

    Posts: 536
    04/04/11 07:16:56
    Im so happy to be seeing pictures of this amazing tail! its so beautiful.
    raina #9

    Posts: 836
    04/04/11 11:56:01
    I always think MVDs tails are beautiful but I like Eric's so much because I can move it around easily on land too
    Last edited by Winged Mermaid; 07-17-2011 at 07:27 PM.

  2. #2

    Posts: 109
    04/05/11 20:16:54

    I also love that Mike's tails have no visible side seams. Really adds to the realism . . .

    Posts: 17
    04/20/11 17:15:07
    I just tested out on of Mike Van Daal's tails today.

    I bought my tail used . .that being said . .

    I am VERY happy with the tail and would recomend the tail to everyone!

    It's fits very nice but there and couple thing maybe if I was to buy a brand new one that I would change or ask if maybe could be altered to my liking . . .

    It's latex tail and is very nice! fits very snuggly to the body.

    But . . .the tail is extremely heavy. If I'm in the suit I cannot lift it up and I have to have someone lift the tail for me. It works really well in the water . .but it's so heavy out of the water I can't even flop it on my own. By being heavy I mean all the weight of mine is in the foot part (or internal monofin). So if I was going to have one custom made for me I would ask if there was any way the fin could made lighter so I could also do stuff out of the water.

    Another thing was the same that was mentioned above. The monofin, it feels like a box that you stick your feet in. Not sure if it's my size but the box end at a uncomfortable place on my foot and makes it hard to swim. Even if my shoe size was a litle off (since AGAIN I did buy it used so I'm not sure) . . .but it seems like even if was my perfect size . . Since it's more of a box shape . .I never really feel like my feet are comfortable in the monfin inside . . .(so not sure if it's me or the tail . .just commenting) If I was to get one custom made for me I might ask him to make it padded on the inside for the monofin . .or make it more like a FINIS monofin. That way the box shape won't hurt you while in and out of the water . . I'm gonna try and make some little padded booties to wear inside the fin to solve that problem.

    I would reccoment Mike Van Daal to everyone! Really love my new tail and am soooo thankful to have it. Been swimming in it all day today!

    Posts: 170
    04/20/11 18:24:45
    brandimermaid wrote:
    I bought my tail used . .that being said . .
    One of the eBay tails?

    Posts: 17
    04/21/11 08:30:11
    Yes . .

    After Adam Martyn stole $2500 from me . . .I couldn't afford a brand new tail right away. The tail is a perfect fit though . .no problems. and I'm not complaining . .

    I'm just saying that . .when or if I was to buy a custom tail from Mike again (which I plan to) . .those are just a couple things I would personally request myself . . .

    I love my new tail!

    Posts: 170
    04/21/11 09:00:19
    brandimermaid wrote:
    Yes . .

    After Adam Martyn stole $2500 from me . . .I couldn't afford a brand new tail right away. The tail is a perfect fit though . .no problems. and I'm not complaining . .

    I'm just saying that . .when or if I was to buy a custom tail from Mike again (which I plan to) . .those are just a couple things I would personally request myself . . .

    I love my new tail!
    Oh, cool! Not about Adam of course, but the eBay tail. Was curious because I got one of the other ones, and was sort of wondering what happened with the rest. Was it the gold one I think? Have any pictures you can post of it?

    Posts: 17
    04/21/11 16:08:41
    I just got done with a small photoshoot . .should have some nice photos to post soon
    Winged Mermaid

    Posts: 884
    05/01/11 10:21:46
    Brandi, for the monofin/fluke issues I would suggest water booties or water shoes. They'll take up some space for a more snug fit and "grip" the pocket better, and they can protect your feet from blisters and whatnot.

    Posts: 16
    05/22/11 20:15:59
    Do you know more about Mike's latex tails as far as his paint quality? I can't afford a silicone tail and the weight outside the water doesn't seem thrilling since I do work with children and they like me to come out of the water so they can touch. I currently have a mertailor tail (latex) and its great aside from the paint fading away as if I've had been using it for a long time when in reality I have swam in it 3 times. I'm looking towards Mike's tails and wanna know some details about the latex ones. I'm hoping that the paint will last with Mike's since he does a quality job and invests more effort as far as what customers say about him. If I'm spending $945 I want my moneys worth for sure! I will indeed be using it with children and want to know if the latex tails (the fluke) fills with water like mertailors does? I cant pull my tail out of the water and lay along the side of the pool after I've entered the water because the fluke becomes a giant water balloon as you can describe it. I have to get out of the tail and lift it fluke first out of the water and hold it up to let the water drain out. So all I can do is sit on the side of the pool with the fluke in the water.

    Last Edited By: MermaidDixie 05/22/11 20:18:09. Edited 1 time.

    Posts: 109
    05/22/11 22:27:34
    Aloha Dixie,

    I can't speak to Mike's latex tail because I don't have one, but I can tell you that I have a silicone tail by both The MerTailor and Mike Van Daal. The paint doesn't chip off of either of them . . . I do have an older latex tail from The Mertailor, and the paint has chipped off of it a lot . . .the silicone tails are completely different and the color stays intact.

    Posts: 109
    05/22/11 22:28:51
    My new blue tail by Mike Van Daal is in this video, and toward the end of the video you can see me swimming underwater . . .I think the side fins look really cool flowing in the ocean currents:

  3. #3

    Posts: 16
    05/23/11 18:48:59
    Thank you for the info. I have a Mertailor latex tail as well and the paint is fading away after 3 swims He's not willing to work with me at all and just ignores me now. I want to make sure from now on if I get a tail it needs to be worth all the money I pay for it and have no regrets or problems with it. I have begun entertaining for birthday parties and I'm helping an autistic boy with his water therapy because he Loves mermaids and I'm making his dream come true but I want to look authentic. Mertailors isn't authentic due to the seams and the paint starting to look crummy! I'm having to rely on nail polish to fix any blemishes. I'm willing to pay once more for another tail but not mertailor since he has just disappointed me and I've seen many complaints about him. So far I like all the positive feedback about Mike and really am considering one of his gorgeous tails! I love how he invests much effort and time into each tail to ensure every one he makes is perfect for his customers. Mertailor didn't do that. I'm willing to wait as long as it takes even if its more than 10 weeks because I won't rush his work of art! Quality and perfection takes time. My current tail will last me I guess until I can get my hands on another replacement. I'm just doing my research and making sure this is the best choice because it is a lot of money! I know I can't afford his silicone tails and not to mention the weight making it impossible to move the fluke won't be the best when working with kids because they like the movement and boosts the realistic charm. Trying to get as much info about him and his work as possible from fellow customers so I don't have to bug him. Is he willing to fix any problems with it if they occur like a tear or something even if its been a while? Mertailor won't help me out with my paint problems. Is he willing to work with me while hes creating it to see if I have any requests on modifications or anything and send pictures as hes making it and the final product before shipping? You can understand the caution I'm taking I'm sure before just leaping in.

    Posts: 16
    05/24/11 16:54:03
    Yeah it seems as though Mertailors close personal friends and those who are "professional" get quality while the rest of us get less than average. The reason I contacted him was the fact that I heard he was working with unhappy customers but he won't work with me and I contacted him 3 days ago so it was recent. This is why I think I will work with Mike from now on! I hear all kinds of positive feedback about his products and service. I believe that if I pay a load of money like that I should get a great product and help if I need it. I'm heading down the entertainment road now so I need something great! I hear Mike's tails are seamless! That adds to the illusion. I think everyone deserves a great work of art that is just as good as the professionals because we are all paying good money for it too. I'm really doing my research before making a move like that again. I'm highly considering Mike though since I've heard all positive feedback! I love his work as well. Looks great! If I had known ahead of time that he would start making tails for the public I would have went with him first. See, when I decided to purchase a tail Mike wasn't selling to the public yet but I was aware of him from youtube but in his descriptions he said he doesn't create for anyone but himself so my last resort was mertailor. I hope I don't get myself into trouble again. I love how Mike doesn't use store bought monofins like mertailor because they do show through the material which is one thing I confronted mertailor about and thats when he started ignoring my emails but if you notice in his videos of him and close friends swimming in his tails and the pictures on his website you can't see the monofins outline! False advertisement in my book. I couldn't fool 5 year olds it's so bad. I would really like the children I work with to believe I'm the real deal but I gotta have something that looks authentic

  4. #4
    What a gorgeous tail!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Hamant's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Weatherford, TX
    What is the price range of the neopmarine tails?

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