2020 was a TOUGH year for all of us, but perhaps one of the more vulnerable communities were the thousands of dive professionals we have in Malaysia. From your friendly dive masters who take you on your adventures, to the dive centre operators, many who have closed their doors since the borders no longer allow any sort of meaningful tourism.
Since as early as March 2020, the diving community has taken a big hit initially from overseas business, and then with two MCOs and state travel bans, from local tourism as well.
We've spoken to several dive professionals, and most of them have had to turn to part-time work to put food on the table - be it design work, or even odd-jobs like selling local produce.
So to support your local dive professional, we're doing two things.
1. We're launching our WataPal reseller program (details here), and
2. We're manufacturing a limited edition, embroidered, commemorative mask strap, designed by a dive professional, who also had to turn to part-time design work to survive - the ever-talented Krys Fernandez.
If you've never seen this symbol before, then you haven't been diving enough :) The SHAKA symbol is commonly used by divers, usually when they see something cool underwater (like a shark or a WATAKALA strap or both!). But its origins mean a LOT more than that.
"Just like “aloha” means much more than just “hello” or “goodbye,” the shaka is more than just a simple greeting or gesture of thanks. Saying “aloha” means that there is a mutual regard and affection for the other person. It is acknowledging the importance of each and every individual in collective existence. This same core value is reflected in the shaka. The simple gesture symbolizes a reverence, solidarity, compassion and friendship. It is a sign of respect and mutual understanding for the recipient." - The PADI blog
The story was apparently of a Hawaiian guard who lost 3 of his right hand fingers at the Kahuku Sugar Mill. So he used his waving 2 fingered hand to signal an all-clear wave, and this became the shaka. Apparently.
Anyways, with the spirit of goodwill, and importance of every dive professional, the launch of this Shaka strap ties in with our #DiverJagaDiver campaign. We are issuing unique discount codes to dive professionals across Malaysia, and each purchase you make with these codes will channel 10% of your money to your favourite dive professional.
Also, any purchase of the commemorative mask strap will channel a solid RM20 to the same professional as well (using the same discount code). FYI, that's pretty much all the profit we'd make off each maskstrap. It's as much as our small company can give, recognising that there are others who might need it more.
As for you, we're hoping there's a dive professional out there that you care about. If you're able, buy a shaka for someone, and use the discount code from that professional to show how much you care. Or you can just use "WATASHAKALAKA", get 5% off your purchase, and another 10% of your purchase (plus RM20 if you buy a Shaka mask strap) will go to a central fund to help all the dive professionals registered to our program.
It's a tough time for all of us, so we could all use a little sense of community, don't you think?
PS: If you're a dive professional, and interested to sign up, just fill up this form, and we'll generate a unique discount code for you once we've verified your details!