Swimming with the fishes
HANDS up if you have swum with humpback whales in Tonga or with sharks and stingrays in the Melbourne Aquarium.
It sounds like a dream to most of us, but for Byron Bay's Kazzie Mahina, it's just another day at her underwater office.
Kazzie is the imagination behind Oceanika MerFins; a flipper, bikini and legging set that when worn transforms any water-baby into a real life mermaid.
"The mermaid," says Kazzie "is kind of a symbol of the symbiotic relationship between humans and the ocean."
This weekend (October 24) Kazzie (or Mahina Mermaid as she's known with fins) is launching her range of kids MerFins at the Byron Bay Surf Festival.
The idea for MerFins began to take shape seven years ago when Kazzie started making her own outfits.
With the expansion of the brand she has found a manufacturer that can make the flippers out of recycled rubber.
"I'm really proud of that," says Kazzie, who is a keen environmentalist.
A full mermaid get-up may sound constricting but it is really quite functional, flexible and a great form of exercise, Kazzie says.
"It gives you a full body undulating motion when you swim," she adds.
They are perfect for the pool and body surfing in the ocean.
Kazzie hopes that the MerFin will allow kids to connect with the environment, something she believes is lacking.
"You don't see kids imagining with nature any more. I want to use the MerFin to educate and inspire a closer connection between humans and the ocean."
If you're all grown-up but have a secret desire to be a mermaid too Oceanika MerFins may soon have a fin for you.
Kazzie hopes that an adult range will be introduced once she gets her kids' line up and running.
"It's funny, I get just as much interest from adults."
At 9.30am tomorrow Kazzie will swim into Wategos Beach where a bunch of eager Merlings will run into the sea and join her for a frolic.
The MerFins line will be available online from this week in colours of aquamarine and coral pink.
For more information on Oceanika MerFins and Kazzie's environmental work visit www.oceanikamerfins.com or