Brazilian man becomes nation’s first merman
A young Brazilian is making waves on Rio’s Ipanema Beach by becoming the first official merman to swim on it shores.
Davi Moreira is proving women are not the only one’s adept at being water sirens but he has lost friends along the way in his quest to pursue his aquatic lifestyle.
The 23-year-old earns his living appearing at parties and performing with a long fish tail and fulfils a childhood dream of combining marine folklore with modern-day reality.
“I always felt different when I was younger and found a lot of peace and happiness when I was swimming,” explained Davi, who lives just 20 minutes from the iconic beach.
“Playing in water made me feel safe and at home when I was growing up.
“I was taught to swim from an early age by my father who was an amateur fisherman and he encouraged me to love the sea.
“I always remember feeling as if I should have a tail whenever I was in the water. But it was hard to share my dreams with my parents who have only now begun to understand that my fish tail is not just a passing fad, but is an essential part of me.
“The moment I saw the Disney cartoon The Little Mermaid, I knew this was my calling.
“I fell in love with Ariel and I had her image tattooed on the inside of my arm in 2015 in honour of her character. I have since dedicated my life to being a merman.”
But Davi’s decision to pave the way for others to discover and release their inner amphibious nature by devoting his life to his ’magical’ lifestyle, has come at a cost.
He revealed: “I have lost friends through my decision. People told me it was ridiculous and childish to want to swim with a tail. But what about surfers? They love the sea so why can’t I express my passion in the best way that fits my personality?
“When dedicated merfolk use a tail it is not simply to fulfil a fantasy or for a joke. It’s a lifestyle and a way of relating to, worshipping and respecting the sea.”
But leaping into the ocean with a monofin can be dangerous and while Brazil's first merman confidently performs the streamline dolphin kick method to glide through the water he takes nothing for granted.
He said: “When I enter the ocean I always ask God for protection and put on a seashell necklace that I believe shields me from harm.”
Davi’s success in Brazil has developed to the point he now has nearly two million followers on his social networks where he teaches subscribers how to make their own swim-tail – just like the ones he used to make when he was a child.
He said: “When you’re starting out you may not want to spend loads on a tail until you know whether it is something you really want to pursue.”
Neoprene waterproof aqua tails can cost anything upwards of £100.
“I give people the option to discover the ins and outs before splashing out. So when wishful merfolk do spend, it is worth shelling out,” said Davi.