Nadya Vessey was born with a condition that meant her legs would never develop properly.
She got her first leg amputated at the tender age of seven, but began to swim later. Her second leg was amputated when she was 16, but still she continued participating in swimming competitions in high school.
The tail will be moulded on to a pair of wetsuit shorts, so that Vessey finds it easy to put on and take off. Vessey says that the tail will enable her to propel herself through the water with an undulating movement as if she was a mermaid.
"I'm thinking I'll power on a bit with it, so that will be great," stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying. Vessey is even thinking of completing the swimming section of a triathlon, to "warrant" having the tail.
"I thought rather than just having it as a plaything, I would take it further," she said. Vessey conceived the idea of getting a tail a few summers ago, when she encountered a kid at the beach. "A little boy came up and started asking all the `why' questions about my legs (she was removing her prosthetic legs)," she said.
Rather than explaining the logistics of amputation to the four-year-old child, Vessey relied on the Little Mermaid's story to answer his queries. "Do you know about the Little Mermaid? He said he did, so I told him: `Well I'm a mermaid,'" she said. Vessey later emailed her idea to Weta, which accepted the challenge of working on the project.
The costs of the materials are being borne by Vessey through a grant of 2500 dollars from the Kerr-Taylor Foundation Trust. The work on the project stared in the beginning of the year. "I began to feel a bit embarrassed about it. But then everybody else got so excited so I thought, `Oh, I'll just go with it and see what happens,'" Vessey said.
She has revealed that her tail will not only be practical but beautiful also, as Weta has promised to put scales on it. "So I really have no idea what to expect but it's going to be fun," she said.