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Iowa deciphers presidential candidates AND the shaka

Ishita Malaviya and Kodi Bengare of India throw shakas © The Shaka Surf Club



Surf Culture

Poll asks midwesterners what the shaka sign means

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 February, 2016 - 1000 Midwestern people were surveyed recently by Waikiki Scuba and asked what the "shaka" hand gesture meant. The results were pretty entertaining. For instance, 2.1 percent associated the symbol with a gang gesture, and 5.7 percent confused it with the rock n' roll “devil horns." 

Since it's a cultural thing in Hawaii and something that was also adopted by the surfing (and the scuba) community, they wondered what people in the heartland of the U.S.A. thought of the hand gesture.

The survey was put together by using targeted Facebook ads. Residents of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin were polled.

The surveyors admit they have no exact translation of the shaka sign other than “hang loose”, so technically all of these people could be right, except for the people who thought it was a gang sign - that's just incorrect.

What does it mean? Well, Wikipedia says: Hawaiians use the shaka to convey the "Aloha Spirit", a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity among the various ethnic cultures that reside within Hawaii, lacking a direct semantic to literal translation. The shaka can also be used to express "howzit?", "thanks, eh?", and "all right!" Drivers will often use it on the road to communicate distant greetings and gratitude.



Shaka, Hang Loose, Hawaii, Surf Culture, Waikiki Scuba
Ryan Taylor

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