WSL CEO Paul Speaker hangs loose!
The shaka is, certainly, our gang sign. Our identifying hand jive, and as a surfer you toss them whether ironically or seriously more often than is maybe advisable. But do you know its origin story? Let’s read from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin!
We discovered different and fascinating accounts of how the “shaka” sign — denoting everything from “right on” and “thank you” to “howzit” and “hang loose” — originated, mainly variations of someone losing the three fingers of one hand in an accident, including trying to catch fish by throwing a stick of dynamite into the ocean. A few also swear it originated with California surfers.
What’s not in dispute is that former used car pitchman and TV personality David “Lippy” Espinda popularized the words and gesture, signing off his commercials with “shaka, brah!” Espinda, who died in 1975, reportedly once explained that his signature sign-off dated back to his marble-playing boyhood.
Meanwhile, Frank Fasi further ingrained the gesture into local culture, using it to symbolize his political campaigns beginning in 1976.
But as to its origins, the prevailing local lore is that it originated with Hamana Kalili of Laie, who lost the middle three fingers on his right hand during an accident at the old Kahuku Sugar Mill.
Kalili’s grandnephew Vonn Logan, who works for Brigham Young University-Hawaii’s Department of Continuing Education, explained that Kalili’s job was to feed sugar cane into the rollers, which would squeeze out the juice. He lost his fingers when his hand got caught in the rollers, Logan said. Because he could no longer work in the mill, he became a security guard on the sugar train that used to travel between Sunset Beach and Kaaawa.
“One of his jobs was to keep all the kids off the train,” Logan said. “All the kids would try to jump the train to ride from town to town. So they started signaling each other. Since (Kalili) lost his fingers, the perfect signal was what we have now as the ‘shaka sign.’ That’s how you signaled the way was clear.”
So much wonderful conjecture shrouded in vog. The shaka’s truth will never be certain but all is well. We know what it means and how to throw different ones.
But guess who just threw the world’s most awkward one?
That’s right! You got it! WSL CEO Paul Speaker!
What is happening? Why is his wrist bent at that angle? A football injury maybe? Why is his pinkie pointing toward Gab Medina’s shaka? Why is it tucked so tightly to his stomach when there is plenty of room for him to stretch out? Do you think this is the first shaka he has ever thrown? It has to be right?
Is he maybe pioneering a new, shriveled shaka style?