Anthony "Shane" Stedman OAM was around to witness the first people surf the now well-known and popular point break at Crescent Head.
"No one surfed the point until the year I left school," he said.
That was in 1956.
That year three "local blokes" introduced the short board to Crescent Head, and not long after, Shane became one of the pioneers of surfboard shaping in Australia.
Shane had been to the Olympic games in Melbourne in '56. At the same time a surfing competition was held close by in Lorne where the Americans had brought with them the early short boards with a single fin.
These boards were sold to Sydney board makers who already in the game.
Kempsey boys John Westaway, Dave Cheers and Bob Mavin purchased a short board each, taking them for a spin at Crescent Head point.
The single fin style made it possible to go across the wave, which Shane was there to witness.
"I nearly fell over," he said.
"It blew me away. I was wrapped.
"I thought, 'I can see the future here.'"
The only surfboards he'd seen before that day were the 14, 16 and 18 foot 'toothpicks' which were long and narrow and "could only go straight."
"Surf clubs used them to go around the buoys and back."
While Shane knew the single fin short board (in today's standards these boards were malibus or mini-mals) were the way of the future of surfing, the world had to wait another five years for the first Shane Surfboard to be shaped.
Growing up in Crescent Head
Born in Sydney, Shane moved to Crescent Head when he was just two or three years old and he spent his childhood barefoot and at the beach.
He lived in a three-room shack with his mother, Mary and his younger brother David.
It was mainly sawmillers and professional fisherman who lived in Crescent Head in those days, and Shane recalls there were only two motor cars in Crescent Head.
He attended Crescent Head Primary School when it had just one teacher in one room with six classes made up of about 30 students.
"We never wore shoes to school and every afternoon after school it was straight to the beach to go fishing and swimming," he said
"Living here we were always in the water, it didn't matter if it was winter or summer."
Shane first starting surfing on a blow up 'surf-o-plane' at the age of nine.
Later he attended Kempsey High, the only high school in the area. Shane says he left school once he knew what he was going to do in life.
Sydney to study
In 1957 he moved to Sydney after a family friend suggested he do a cadetship in engineering.
Shane did a five year course and post graduate study.
"I worked during the day at a traineeship with Telephone and Electrical Industries (TEI) at a Meadowbank factory where I learnt all the things that helped to streamline the surfboard business later in life," he said.
"At night I took my course at UNSW (University of New South Wales) in Kensington three or four nights a week."
The start of Shane Surfboards
It wasn't until 1962 that Shane shaped his first board out of necessity.
"I couldn't afford to buy one. It was cheaper to make your own," he said.
He got his hands on his first factory in Eastwood, Sydney in the early 1960s. It had a dirt floor, no electricity, and was just big enough to fit his little Morris Minor car.
He would go on to be the owner and face of Shane Surfboards.
By 1967/68 the business had started to take off and in 1969 Shane moved to a bigger factory in Brookvale.
"It was brand new; it was magic," he said.
Shane says Shane Surfboards were the biggest surfboard maker in the Southern Hemisphere for at least 10 years.
He employed all the best surfers and shapers and had about 30 staff at any given time, known as The Shane Gang.
"I paid other people to do the work and I ran the show. It was better for me to pay a bloke who did nothing but shape, and pay a bloke to do nothing but glass."
Shane says Simon Anderson, who invented the three-finned surfboard, and Terry Fitzgerald, nicknamed 'Sultan of Speed', shaped for Shane Surfboards.
"They helped put the company on the map," he said.
Shane wanted more time in the water, and that's what he got. "I'd go surfing with the owners of the surfshops," he said. "That was networking."
"That's all I wanted to do was go surfing, and that is what I did do."
Shane says his younger brother, David, did the business side of things and he did the fun part.
However, Shane did enough sanding of boards without a mask in his day to pay the price. Recently, he was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
"The doctors say I have enough fibreglass in my lungs to make two boards!"
"We didn't know to wear a mask," said Shane. "In those days we'd wash in acetone."
Shane was recently awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the industry, but it's not just boards he brought to the world of surfing.
"I introduced the world to Ugg boots through the surfing industry," said Shane. "Through surfers with cold feet."
In the early days of surfing there was no such thing as wetsuits and surfers would wear football jerseys during the colder months.
"You'd come out of the ocean and your feet were freezing," said Shane.
"You'd rub the sand off, pop the ugg boots on, and it was heaven."
Shane says while the concept of Ugg boots started in shearing sheds, they are a part of the surf industry.
In the beginning he had up to a dozen boots made in a factory in Adelaide, selling pairs through surf shops, until he moved production to Botany where 1,000 pairs were made a week.
According to Shane, Deckers bought the trademark early in the conception.
"They paid me a certain amount of money and made a deal that I got three pairs of boots every year."
One for him, and a pair for his son Luke and daughter Bonnie.
Settled in Creso
Shane's childhood home on the headland overlooking Killick Creek and the point remained in the family with numerous locals living in the place over the decades.
After spending 40 odd years in Sydney running Shane Surfboards, he returned to Crescent Head in 2018 to renovate the childhood home and enjoy the ocean view.
"I love living here. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else," he said.
While Shane can't walk well these days, he uses his mobility bike to check the surf as often as he can.
"Basically, I like to get down there once a day."
Shane says he likes to watch the waves. "I'm still a shredder in my head."
He will celebrate his 83rd birthday in April.