Modern freestyle has progressed tremendous amounts since the birth of aerial freestyle in the early 2000s. However, one move that continues to stand the test of time is the shaka, which was invented by 3-time Freestyle World Champion - Ricardo Campello (Naish / Naish Sails) - in 2002. The shaka remains one of the hardest moves to initially learn, but once you unlock this amazing looking and feeling move it will remain one of your favourites and also be one of the best ways to show off in front of your buddies. Whether you’ve been struggling with the shaka for years or yet to try your first attempts here’s some tips from some of the best freestylers in the world!
Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7): “First of all it’s really important to be comfortable with your gear and also the basic moves such as upwind 360s and helitacks, but also the flake will help you unlock the shaka a lot because the end of the move is exactly like an upwind 360 and flaka.
Once you’ve got the basics down you need to find a nice steep piece of chop. I recommend to learn the shaka on lakes because normally you have the chop slightly upwind from you, which helps with getting the initial pop up. Move your backhand slightly back on the boom and bend your elbows slightly then began to carve upwind by pulling up on your toes. When you take off you are going to stretch out your whole body. You need to straighten both your legs and front arm simultaneously, but sheet in your backhand. This is really important. Try and point your board directly into the wind and bring your body weight over your gear (forwards), while the sail goes back to turn the board upwind. Once you start to get the body and sail movement the end of the move is relatively simple as it’s the same ending as a flaka. Once you can do it, the shaka is one of the easiest moves to do in all conditions and it’s also still one of the most fun!”
9-time PWA Freestyle World Champion Sarah—Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins): “Try sailing in a straight line and all of a sudden carve upwind to launch of the chop. If you're already sailing upwind before initiating the move you lose momentum and it becomes hard to land the shaka.
-As you carve up wind for the shove it, look over your shoulder really hard, lay your sail down and push the sail down with your front hand. Not as much with your back hand.
-Always lean your body weight toward the nose of the board. Actually kind of in between the the mast and the board. These are my top tips.”
Antoine Albert (Goya Windsurfing): “Better know how to flaka as it’s kind of the same rotation. Better not be to powered up at the beginning, just good, because then the move is harder to control, and choose a stiff on shore chop.
Top tips -> Stay over the board, don’t throw yourself on the back. You have to give an energetic kick with your hip and throw the sail as far forward as you can (like a low wind stall, you know what I mean ? :p ) and then don’t forget to push with your front hand in the air to control the up wind position.
Riccardo Marca (Fanatic / Duotone)
- Before stepping up to the shaka you should be able to flaka as first it’s important to have the confidence with an upwind rotation.
- Possibly try this move in a choppy spot, it will help you to take off the first times.
- During the shaka move your head in the direction you want to turn.
- The sail has a lot of power in this move so you will have to learn how much pressure you have to put through your hands.
- Keep your legs stiff during the first “air-time” part of the move.
Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins):
“My shaka tips: Have a lot of speed look for a chop and carve the board aggressively as you keep the speed and your body flying forwards (not too much upwind) with your backhand sheeted in and push down hard with your front arm. As soon as you are in the air push also hard on the backhand to fly longer. Look around in the direction you are going and enjoy the airtime!”
Adam Sims (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg):
- Power in the sail is the most important and speed is definitely your friend.
- Aim to take off across the wind and as you carve up to get the board in the air push down on the boom and swing it behind your body, so the sail is pressing against your shins.
- Pull up with the back hand if you are struggling to rotate in the air.
- Aim to land the move first, don’t aim to try and do it high, you need to learn the rotation first, height comes later.
- Lastly, if you are rotating and not sliding then go off the wind a few degrees.