Surf Shaka

Hang Loose!

Surf Shaka

When somebody mentions a surf shaka or yells out ‘Shaka, bruh!’ – it might raise a few eyebrows. The word ‘Shaka’ is not a common one – but you’ll likely have an idea as to what it means. The noun is more associated with the action, and it’s a popular one, so much so that it has an emoji!

What is the Surf Shaka?

The surf shaka is a gesture where one raises their hand like they are giving a thumbs up. Then they extend their pinky and keep the three fingers in the middle curled down.

Sometimes those making the surf shaka will rotate their hand back and forth for emphasis and add some verbal enhancement into the mix.

The gesture has long been associated with surfing and was popularized in California surf culture around the 1960s. The sign has spread to surfers around the world, where each has its variation of meaning. Universally it is a sign of positivity and an ode to the greatness of surf culture.

The Origins of the Surf Shaka

The shaka sign is often associated with the spiritual home of surfing – Hawaii. But the origins of the gesture are disputed. Some stories tell that the shaka came from a worker in a Hawaiian sugar mill who lost three fingers on the job. As he was guarding the train that transported it, he would wave at children that passed by. These kids would gesture the shaka between each other, imitating the wave.

Another story features Spanish immigrants to Hawaii, where they made the gesture when drinking as a cultural sign of friendliness. The natives then adopted it into their community exchanges. There are many tales of its creation, but no certainty. Experts aren’t even sure where the word ‘Shaka’ came from!

How is the Surf Shaka Used?

The surf shaka is used worldwide as a greeting or positive gesture. Most of the time, it indicates ‘hang ten’ or ‘hang loose,’ referring to a surfboard. Others it’s used to ask ‘how’s it hanging’ or a simple ‘thanks’. Whatever its use, it captures the ‘Aloha Spirit’ procured in Hawaii and perfectly embodies the positivity of a surf session.

You’ll see pictures from around the world of surfers posing doing the surf shaka. The sign is commonly used in places like Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. The gesture has become an essential part of surf culture. You’ll even see celebrities and entertainers use the shaka for television or sports celebrations. It has become one of the most versatile signs in the world.

The Universal Language of Surfing

The surf shaka is used as a spiritual way to communicate with other surfers. If you’ve even been on a session with friends or locals, someone has bound to wish you well in your activities. There are many positive vibes associated with the gesture – it is the perfect sign for all things surfing. Next time you’re out on your board, look out for the shaka – and spread your knowledge about the surf shaka!

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