Well, what can I say…ambassadors ‘What is a Shaka?’
“Is it a type of food?” – Ben
“A type of dolphin?” Rochelle
No guys, the Shaka sign is in fact the famous surfers’ hand gesture! And, the story of this popular sign goes back to the roots of Hawaiian culture.
Shaka – a history
The strongest clue to Shaka’s origin refers to Hamana Kalili of Laie, a Hawaiian fisherman from the town of Laie who lost three middle fingers from his right hand during an accident at the old Kahuku Sugar Mill.
Without his fingers he could no longer work in the mill, so Hamana became a security guard on the sugar train that used to travel between Sunset Beach and Kaaawa.
According to the stories, he was always trying to keep tick-less kids off of the train; and to communicate that Hamana was not looking and that the way was clear, the kids started signaling each other with their hands, mocking the missing fingers!
(There are many versions of the Hamama story – but this one was my favourite!)
The modern day Shaka
When the surf culture grew and spread through California and America during the 1960s, surfers from Hawaii started saluting fellow wave riders and friends with an original hand sign.
Surfers loved it, and before long, the original Shaka from Hawaii had an alternative nickname: Hang Loose.
What exactly is a Shaka?
Shaka is a physical hand gesture – it’s made by extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled into the palm of the hand.
What is the real meaning of Shaka today?
A shaka can mean many positive things. “Hi,” “Thank You,” “All Right,” “See You,” “Peace,” “Goodbye,” “Take Care,” and “Chill Out” are some of the daily reasons for delivering Shakas.
Fun Fact: This surfers’ official salutation has a few different meanings in various countries. For example, in China, it means “six”, in Russia, it can be an invitation to drink a beer and in some Caribbean islands, it may suggest sexual contact!
What are you waiting for? Chuck us a Shaka!!
All you need to do is shoot a short video or snap a photo of you and / or your team ‘chucking a Shaka’ sign, and post it to our Facebook page here or on Instagram using the hashtag #fctgbigspirit.
It’s super quick and simple to enter. There are spot prizes to win and all submissions will be placed in our gallery and used for one final ‘shaka’ video with all video entries.
About the Author
Becca is an avid traveller, a trained copywriter and one of Australia’s leading video marketers. As a creative content producer she’s pumped to be engaging, entertaining and intriguing the FCTG nations with written and visual communications in the run up to Global.