Don Markham, Nicole Zelek, and Lila Jones represented NAUI Worldwide at this year’s 2021 MerMagic Con in Manassas, VA from August 6 – 8th, 2021. They shared first-hand about their experiences at the convention.
“NAUI Worldwide ran two Mermaid certification classes over the weekend. NAUI Instructor, Nicole Zelek, stepped up and taught a free diving session that would have been forced to cancel. We certified 14 mermaids, along with 4 – 5 free divers during the event.
The convention had many vendors in the mermaid community selling items from crowns, mermaid tops, mermaid tails, and anything related to being a mermaid. Also, the finals for the Miss Mermaid USA pageant were being held during MerMagic Con. The top 25 Miss Mermaids competed for the crown and around a dozen of the pageant Mermaids are NAUI certified. The 2nd and 3rd place winners were both NAUI certified! Nicole Wood, the 2nd place winner was crowned Miss Mermaid America, and she is a NAUI Mermaid Instructor.” – Don Markham, of Don’s Academy of Diving
“Mermaids of all varieties gathered in Manassas, Virginia for the 3rd annual MerMagic Con. This year NAUI was present again and was able to offer certification to eager mermaids and free divers. The NAUI mermaid program seeks to increase safety in the mermaid world. Certification wasn’t required for performers, yet as the dream of being a professional mermaid reaches more people, an increase in safety is the new theme of the industry. Some of the larger name performance companies, such as Aqua Performance Group and Circus Siren Pod, have had or required their mermaids to go through the NAUI mermaid program.
At MerMagic Con, hobbyists and professionals have a meeting of the minds. Classes and panels ranging in topics from diversity, history and mythology of mermaids, conservation, and even how to care for and create your own mermaid items are common dry events. This year NAUI was able to step in and train free divers and certified 14 new mermaids.
One of the big draws this year was the Miss Mermaid Pageant which saw multiple NAUI mermaids step up and put their passion and training to the test. Two NAUI mermaids placed 1st and 2nd runner up, with NAUI Mermaid Instructor Nicole Wood winning the 1st runner up title of Ms Mermaid America. The first-place winner, Felicia Lee (known as Felicia with Fins on social media) was crowned Miss Mermaid USA and will go on to represent the United States at the Miss Mermaid International competition in Egypt.”
– Lila Jones, NAUI instructor & creator of the NAUI Mermaid program
NAUI Worldwide is so proud of each mermaid that participated, became certified, and passed along their knowledge to others in the mermaid world. We cannot wait to see even more mermaids become a part of the NAUI family! Did you miss out on this year’s MerMargic Con? Visit https://mermagic-con.com/ for more information on how you can get involved next year!
Founded in 1960, NAUI Worldwide is one of the scuba industry’s largest not-for-profit agency whose purpose is to enable people to enjoy underwater activities as safely as possible by providing the highest quality practical education, and to actively promote the preservation and protection of the world's underwater environments. As a pioneer in diving education, NAUI has developed many of the programs and concepts accepted throughout the diving industry. NAUI: The Definition of Diving!