Surf Tips

Sanuk How To’s: Give Skin

I shook Donny’s hand once. It was at Mundaka in 2005. He said, “I like your belt buckle”. I let go.


The handshake dates back to medieval Europe, ancient Greece or Arabia, depending on whom you ask, the idea being to greet someone in a manner demonstrating that you are bearing no concealed weapons.

On your travels, knowing when to clasp, shaka, high five, soul bro or regulation can be almost as important as knowing where to paddle out. Fuckin ell!


a). Regulation/Clasp. Can either be done standard horizontal hand thumb up, or clasp-style with fingers up. One variation is the regulation to grip-shift clasp. (Hawaii)

b) Palm slap to fist bump (to optional variation). Where: Mainly France, but also popular all over the surf world. Mixture of a European-style regulation incorporating aspects of the ‘soul brother’ handshake popularized in the USA and Caribbean. A variation is going from fist bump to shaka (Tahiti), or bump to an open fingered palm with simultaneous explosion noise (signifying ‘blowing up’). Note: In France you shake hands e.g. with friends/colleagues every day. In England, you only really shake hands with people you don’t know/like, and never with friends.

c) High Five. (Mainly US and A) In America, it’s not uncommon to high five everyone you see first thing in the morning, every time you make a gag or even when someone says something funny on TV.

d) Lefties. Shaking hands with your left (as well as passing food at the table left handed) is a big no-no in much of Asia and Africa, where people wipe their bums with their left and eat with their right.

e) Los Angeles. In LA, handshaking has been somewhat usurped by hugging. Everyone hugs. They think they’re being liberated, warm, luvvie duvvie and awesome, but there’s nothing worse than an insincere hug. If you suspect that someone in LA is giving you an insincere hug (that’s everyone) lick their left cheek whilst maintaining eye contact. That’ll learn the fuckers.

WARNING: While handshaking can break down social barriers and open doors, beware of turning into one of those people who look as if the main reason they left the house was to try and shake hands with as many doormen/barmen/DJ’s as possible, a person who might be unfavourably, yet accurately described as,

‘He’ll shake any cunt’s hand.’


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