Shaka: the simple Hawaiian hand gesture has spread across the world | Photo: Shutterstock

The shaka, also known as "hang loose," is more than just a simple hand gesture. But do you really know how to throw it?

Today, Hawaii's iconic fingerprint is pretty much a universal gesture that has been adopted by millions of people and is no longer just a symbol of surf culture.

Some Hawaiians love to throw them really loose, and many girls and women tend to avoid them.

The origin of the shaka is not clear, but the strongest clue credits Hamana Kalili of Laie for creating it.

The classic shaka sign is always a bold, confident, and committed hand gesture with two main versions - the frontside and the backside shaka.

You don't need to enroll in a training program to do the shaka. Just make sure you practice it until it's perfect. Now, let's get practical.

Shaka 101

Here's how to do a proper shaka:

  1. Prepare your favorite shaka hand - or both;
  2. Make a fist;
  3. Spread or extend your pinky and thumb fingers;
  4. Fold your middle fingers down;
  5. Shake it or twist it (optional);

Believe it or not, there are several types of shakas, and each one fits a specific situation in life.

The most common shakas are the classic shaka, the local shaka, the Menehune or baby shaka, the big or XXL shaka, and the double shaka.

Some people like to open it; others prefer it tight. The shaka can also be a static hand sign or a very active and bold motion gesture.

One thing's for sure: every time you throw a shaka, you're spreading aloha.

And the truth is that everyone can add their own little flair to it. So, in a way, the shaka is constantly evolving.

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