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Sculptor struggles with Shaka Claus

Jeff Haigh of California said on Friday there was only one more day, and a lot of “refurbishing” that needed to be done, on the “Shaka Claus” sand sculpture at Kalapaki Beach.

“It’ll be done by Saturday, since Christmas is on Sunday,” Haigh said, interrupting his work to chat with visitors passing by and stopping to watch the developing local-style icon of the holidays.

“Originally, I wanted a surboard, but that disintegrated with all the Kona wind that dehydrates sand. I was working on a plumeria in the back, but Santa already lost an eye, and a lot of people are giving it names like ‘Chooey Baka Santa.’ No, it’ll be done by Saturday.”

Haigh, who is not known for his sand-sculpting skills, has been visiting the island for years, creating at least three different kinds of sculptures for the holidays.

Borrowing tools from local celebrity Dickie Chang, Haigh creates a “Mele Kalikimaka” sculpture that serves as a backdrop for a countless number of visitor photos. Now that Christmas is done, he’ll start working on a “Hauoli Makahiki Hou” piece that also attracts a countless number of cameras and smartphones for photos.

Finally, if his planning is on the kini popo, he’ll create a “Kung Hee Fat Choy” piece before returning to California for another year.

“Rabbits,” he said. “This year is the Year of the Rabbit, and I’ve got to do 80 rabbits. You know, rabbits are known to multiply.”

He said the biggest problem this year is the weather and the prevalence of Kona winds that tend to dry out the sand.

“We need some rain,” he said, clapping his hands as dark clouds rolled in overhead and drops began to fall.

“Water! We need water to keep the sand wet. Is Santa coming by outrigger canoe again? Too much COVID. I don’t know, but people are talking about it, so I need to get this done.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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