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Thread: What to expect with your first tail

  1. #41

    What to expect with your first tail

    I wear a 5-7, but usually a 6 1/2 US. For water equipment sometimes even size 4's are way too big. For me a Wave with neoprene socks was good. I currently have the smallest size Finis competitor, which is waaaay too big, but with 2 pairs of 2mm neoprene socks fits well so that may be an option. Also the monofins in the official monofin thread have monofin makers listed over in Europe, and they have much more customizable fins. Wider choice of sizes as well as hardness and other specs Plus they're cheaper than the overpriced Finis Competitor! If you're looking for a floppier fin, the Merfin has kids and adult sizes so I'm sure you could find a small enough size! Good luck!

    Wingéd Mermaid Iona

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  2. #42
    Since we are currently speaking of monofins, what is the exact specialty of each one of them? While reading in the forum, I heard of Finis Wave, Rapid, Foil, Competitor and the Merfin but I have no clue of which one is best for a performance silicone tail from Raven. I'm currently hesitating between the Merfin fluke and the Merbella fluke. If i take the Merfin fluke, i know that the answer is easy since it's gonna be the Merfin monofin inside but what about the Merbella fluke? Which monofin in the best for what i would like for my tail?

    My dream tail would be floppy but sturdy enough so i can't hit my head with the fins while posing.

    Since i'm a guy, some might suggest the competitor but in my opinion, it's too stiff for my taste :

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    I found this photo of Mermaid Ayla where her fluke looks great while posing (although i'm aware she's using the metal poll)
    I think it's perfect but i have no idea of which monofin is inside.

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    I like the flexibility of the Merfin, the way it bends, it's floppy enough but is it a fluke for a merman tail? I wonder.

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    Which monofin would be a wise choice for my first silicone tail? I want to get something that has power but also a nice flow-like feel to it when i swim. Until now, i have been swimming only with a plastic monofin (Magictail).
    I would appreciate some help. Thanks.
    Last edited by Merman Arion; 12-17-2013 at 01:07 PM.


  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    I have made an observation between reading people's reviews, talking with other tail makers, and talking with friends on here. I think some people don't always have the correct expectations for their first tails. Regardless of the tail type. If you've never used a tail before, seen one in person, or worn one, you may not know what to expect! I was thinking it would be nice to start a thread where those of us who have had multiple tails can share their experiences. I also think this might help people who are ordering their first tails have more realistic expectations. I've noticed, and I think a few others have as well, that some complaints being voiced are actually what's standard currently in the tail making community. There are some things that tail makers just don't have a solution for yet.

    So I'm going to share what I know, I'd love you to share what you know. Perhaps we can edit it all into a nice list to be stickied, and add it as a Tail Flip article!

    I've owned and used a fabric tail, a neoprene/latex (alex) tail, and 2 silicone tails. I've talked to tail makers, and I've looked at my own PERSONAL experiences. Here's what I've learned:

    •Most tails take time to get on until you get used to them and figure them out. Some tails have zippers, many don't. But if you've never put a tail on before even if it's fabric or silicone, it can take a bit to learn the ropes! Fabric tails and neoprene tails are easier to put on dry than silicone tails. Thicker tails are harder to roll down than thinner tails. Lubrication can help so long as it's not something that will degrade your tail.

    •If you've never worn a monofin before, they can be uncomfortable. Different monofins will feel differently. Some have straps some have pockets. It can take time to learn to wear and swim in a monofin correctly.

    •Most tails have seams, some tail makers have just worked out better ways to hide them. Many of the higher quality silicone tails have worked out ways so that you can only see seams up close. Many fabric tail makers add fringes or use sequins to hide seams. Point being, if two piece of materials are being put together- there will be a seam somewhere. So expect to see one unless you're specifically told you wont.

    •Unless you have an elastic waistband put into your tail (like Hannas) regardless of the tail type, in some situations (or in all situations depending on your tail) you WILL get drag, which WILL pull open your waist. Many mers compensate for this by wearing belts. However, it's nearly impossible to keep air/water from travelling into your tail through the waist line. In the behind the scenes for Splash the tail makers explained that the way they achieved such a realistic effect with Madison's tail (no waist line, no knees, no wrinkles etc) was to shrink wrap her legs in plastic. It doesn't mean your tail doesn't "fit". The majority of materials mermaid tails are made out of have some percentage of stretch. Silicone stretches, latex stretches, fabric stretches, neoprene stretches.

    •In that same line, most tails will wrinkle in some places. Why? Because the material stretches, and because we bend. The most common places for winkles are around the knee, and the ankles. If a tail is skin tight, it's still NOT skin, it's common to get wrinkles there. Some tail makers compensate by making those areas extra tight. It may give a good look, but can make it difficult to swim and move. Also tricky to get on (many have to reach down to pull monofin straps up when putting a tail on) It's been my personal experience that the thinner the material the likelier it is to wrinkle in those spots. My merbellas tail fit like a glove when I first got it. But it's thin. It still would wrinkle from time to time in those areas. My Jesse tail is super thick. it wont wrinkle as much, only in certain situations, but will still get a wrinkle in those spots. THE BEST WAY TO KEEP WRINKLES AWAY is to POINT YOUR TOES and keep your legs flexed. This is how so many mers achieve the wrinkle free look when posing for a photo. If I do that with my legs, I will have no wrinkles at all. You can also train yourself to swim and keep your legs straight behind you. I've lost weight now, so my merbellas tail is baggier (I'm saving up to have it taken in and extra fins added etc) a good trick for that sort of situation that I found in my experience works with ALL tail types, is to wear tights underneath. It gives the material something more tactile to grip to, reduces the amount of slipping and wrinkling, and can flesh out the tail and take away the costumed look. Point is, some wrinkling is normal, it doesn't mean your measurements are wrong.

    •Measurements! Another area that is always causing headaches. Rule of thumb: if you aren't measuring to at least your belly button or above it, you'll end up with a low rise tail. For some people, it can work, for others, it wont cover their bum! If you're concerned about your tail not covering your butt, ask the tail maker the best way to measure, and measure several times. Generally the response I got from asking many tail makers is that if you send them measurements that are below your belly button- that thing will not cover your bum.

    •Several tail makers use well hidden drainage holes. Some fabric/neoprene ones even keep hidden zippers or velcro. It's to help water escape, or help air move through to dry the tail. It does not mean your tail is damaged. Hannah's thread shows how her tail has an open fluke that is kept zippered. The german tail maker and many other fabric tail makers also have open end fluke designs. Several silicone tail makers that I speak to have drainage holes or slits.

    •If your silicone or latex is NOT tinted, paint will chip off. If you're going for a cheaper tail and opt to not have the materials tinted, your paint is only sitting on a clear surface and will chip/scuff.

    •With painting and tinting- lighter colours take longer and many more layers to set. This can delay tail production times.

    •Silicone and latex and their tin cures can take longer to cure in cold or wet weather. This can delay tail production times.

    •Most tail makers will say their tail's are neutral buoyancy or as close to neutral as can be. I've shown all my tails to my local diveshop and they actually believe they're all positively buoyant - though not by much. For some people, they can sink in a tail. For others, we can't (like me), That doesn't always mean your tail was poorly made or has problems. Some people just don't sink very well. If you can't sink when you swim normally, you may find investing in a weight belt will help you sink in a tail. This is not always the case, especially if your tail is trapping air in the fluke, (which can lead to you floating up tail first or butt first) but it's the general rule of thumb that if you can't sink without a tail you will likely still find it hard to sink with one.

    •Silicone is HEAVY. Unless you have a tail that's partially silicone, or made very thin, expect it to be heavy.

    •In that same thought, it can be hard to lift the fluke of a silicone tail. If you have a smaller monofin that doesn't fill the whole fluke, you wont be able to get it to stand straight up on it's own like mine does in my avatar.


    EDIT:

    A few more to add!


    • Tails are not invincible. No tail maker claims they are. Even a super expensive silicone tail will wear out over time, EVEN when you take good care of it. Typical things that can happen with silicone are minor holes and tears from pulling it on. They can be EASILY fixed with the right kind of silicone or dragonskin so that they can't be seen. (Trust me, I ding up my tail from time to time, fix it on my own, and nobody can tell anything- nothing to photoshop out)
    • CHLORINE WILL DAMAGE YOUR TAIL EVEN IF IT'S EXPENSIVE. Chlorine eats away at EVERYTHING so be sure to wash your tail with 1/4 baking soda or other alkaline substance to clear out the chlorine. Let it soak, and dry it properly. You should wash it right away.
    • TAILS CAN GET MOLDY. Even when you clean them and take good care of them. Sometimes, you cant get the mold out, but you can kill it. Vinegar is a great thing to use to kill mold, and stop it from spreading. How I clean mold when I get it: leave it soaking in vinegar for a few minutes, then use a toothbrush to gently scrub it away from the lining. I always try to dry my tail to prevent mold, but sometimes it can't be prevented.
    • Extra fins and dorsals are typically fragile regardless of what they're made of. They tend to be thinner, and are attached, so they have a higher chance of getting snagged on something. (I coat mine in a light film of vaseline or oil when I do photoshoots etc so they don't snag on anything, and I always tell kids not to pull on them)
    • Latex doesn't bond to silicone. So if you're ever attempting to fix your tail, don't put one on top of the other. It'll go all peely. However, if you're repairing the inside of your own neoprene+latex tail, you could use a silicone caulking to glue the inside of the fluke down.




    Edit #2 more things to add!
    MOST OF THE DAMAGE THAT HAPPENS TO TAILS, HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUT THEM ON, TAKE THEM OFF, AND DON'T CLEAN THEM RIGHT AWAY. Some wear and tear is 100% normal, these are COSTUMES not solid prosthetic.Consider that for h20 and Splash each tail needed to be repaired after each swim, and sometimes there were multiple tails for multiple scenes. SO it's normal, even though you paid a lot of money, even though it's expensive materials, for tails to have wear and tear even after a few swims. It's all in how you maintain it, how you use it and wear, and how you're putting it on and off.

    For more info, read my post about putting your tail on:

    http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...4216#post84216
    this is a GREAT POST!

  4. #44
    Ayla either has a cut competitor or a Finis Foil, I believe it's a Foil but we might need Ayla to confirm that. :P

    Also, Doreen Virtue has a competitor in her MerFin fluke so that's also an option!


    This link is where she says so: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    As someone with a MerFin...I love mine. It's super floppy, the shape looks amazing in the water, (I swim with it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeD-QT5pQzk ) and it propels me fast. Someone in the Oceanika thread said they considered it an eight compared to a competitor if it was a ten. There's also size comparison pictures in that thread, the one by Aquatarian, so totally go and read that one up.

    The only only downside with the MerFin is that the footpockets are damn painful. I wear spandex socks with them every time I swim and that works fine to prevent it, but I can barely walk when I get out if I don't have something to protect my feet. It's not that big of a deal since spandex is enough to prevent them, but it's definitely something to keep in mind (I have neoprene socks under the tree now though since they will last longer).

    If you want the Merbella shape but slightly more floppiness, you could consider one of the European monofin makers. LeaderFins and some others too. The Soft fin is slightly softer than the Finis Competitor, so you could check out Mermaid Fenecia's videos since that's what she has. As far as I know Raven hasn't made a tail with one but they're exactly the same size as the competitor so I don't see why she couldn't or wouldn't.

    Really I'd say maybe to just draw out the fluke shapes, each of them, and watch a lot of videos swimming with your choices to figure out what you want. Good luck! <3

  5. #45
    Merman Arion I don't know how big your feet are but Merfins only go up to women's size 8 or men's size 6 (39 euro)

  6. #46
    With the sizing for a MerFin, just measure your foot. With how all the different sizes change from country to country it's best to measure length and use the chart to figure out if it will fit.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Euro Pod Yulia's Avatar
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    I haven't seen a merman in a merfin fluke, but hey, I think it's all about the coloring.
    If the colors fit you, the fluke fits you.

  8. #48
    I haven't either but honestly I feel like the shape is pretty gender neutral when put in a tail.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    foil= floppy harder to lift tail, competitor= strong, easier to lift, but very big, bulky., Merfin= great look, but trickier to swim in.

    Raven has made mermen tails but the clients havent seemed to have sent her photos or anything yet

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    foil= floppy harder to lift tail, competitor= strong, easier to lift, but very big, bulky., Merfin= great look, but trickier to swim in.

    Raven has made mermen tails but the clients havent seemed to have sent her photos or anything yet
    Interesting. Thanks for your input, Raina.
    For the Merfin, what did you mean by "trickier to swim in" ?


  11. #51
    I don't really find the MerFin tricky to swim with at all...it's very floppy and not rigid at all, but it still has a really good push to it. It's really pretty effortless to swim with, deep dolphin kick or not.

  12. #52
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Elle's Avatar
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    Merfin can just be awkward at times because of how it flexes, you can bend it the middle vertically. and the tips bend as well while you're swimming, if you aren't used to a monofin or fins in general, it could be a bit more work the first few swims.

    Doreen's tail is actually a competitor, cut into the shape of a merfin. So different again
    "Will you walk a little faster?" said a Whiting to a Snail
    "There's a Porpoise right behind us and he's treading on my tail!"


    Tail making progress http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...-making-a-tail

  13. #53
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Fifi Tigg's Avatar
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    Emily's tail that I made has a Merfin inside and she swims in it effortlessly and out swims the family by miles LOL I also own the largest Merfin they have and I'm a size 8 Australian and its very, very tight! If you have a size 7 Australian shoe size it would fit perfectly
    Last edited by Fifi Tigg; 12-17-2013 at 10:41 PM.
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  14. #54
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    You'd have to compare merfin to competitor. A harder monofin will always be easier.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

  15. #55
    As a man, i have big feet, i'm a 9.5 (US Size). I guess the Merfin is out? Or i can ask a custom merfin for me?

    I don't mind getting the competitor. I guess i'm gonna have to pay for this upgrade but would it be all right to cut it a little so the fins could be more floppy?
    That's what happened with mermaid Ayla, right? If i'm not mistaken.


  16. #56
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Elle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fifi Tigg View Post
    Emily's tail that I made has a Merfin inside and she swims in it effortlessly and out swims the family by miles LOL I also own the largest Merfin they have and I'm a size 8 Australian and its very, very tight! If you have a size 7 Australian shoe size it would fit perfectly
    I have their largest size and I'm a size 9. I cut the toe ends so my big toe has room!
    "Will you walk a little faster?" said a Whiting to a Snail
    "There's a Porpoise right behind us and he's treading on my tail!"


    Tail making progress http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...-making-a-tail

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    You'd have to compare merfin to competitor. A harder monofin will always be easier.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

    I'm still not sure if I follow. Believe me, I'm all for the competitor. But I don't understand how a stiffer monofin will be easier. Selene got hers and it was painful for her at first, stiffer = harder to swim with. Do you mean harder to go fast with? I just don't get it. Floppier should be easier to swim with than stiff, hands down.

  18. #58
    I think they're saying its like a peddle that doesnt require much movement on your part to move it with a stiff one. A soft fin requires you move more to get it to follow all the way through. BUT you need more strength to push that hard fin and all the water. It boils down just to preference imo. Stiff with flowy ends is what I did for Yulia so it is hard but will look really flowy and wiggly on those long tips.
    Last edited by Mermaid Oshun; 12-18-2013 at 10:27 AM.

  19. #59
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    A harder material monofin will always propel better. Finis will tell you as much and you can read and watch their comparison stats. Its why competitor is far safer than foil for use in ocean and why most recreational Monofins are not suggested for ocean use


    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Elle View Post
    I have their largest size and I'm a size 9. I cut the toe ends so my big toe has room!
    He's a size 9.5 men's.... that's like a size 11.5 women's. I don't think toe-holes will do the trick for him.

    Arion, I would just ask and see if you can get the Merbella fluke made with a rapid or cut-down competitor maybe? Seems like that would give you the best chance at "floppy" while still being large enough for your feet.
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