Shane is without doubt one of surfing’s big names of our sport. He has had a huge impact on Australia’s surfing history. He was born and bred at Crescent Head, NSW in the roaring 40’s and in the early learning years he still remembers his one room shack primary school. The shack was home to six classes, all in the one room with half the class aboriginal and the other half white kids. There was no electricity in Crescent until he was about 12 years of age. He went to high school in Kempsey.
Following school, Shane did a five year Production Engineering course in Kensington, NSW followed by another year post graduate. Shane’s foray into surfboard production came in 1963/64 and as with most experiments his first board was shaped in his Mums garage with a dirt floor. His simple plan reflected the times and all he wanted was to make enough boards to support his surfing lifestyle. What he ended up doing was much bigger than he had originally planned. In 1966 he was working with Dick Van Straalen and Kevin Brennan and in 1967 he made the move to Brookvale, the home of surfboard shaping in the State.
Shane and his mates became the legendary Shane gang and very early advertising in Surfing World made you aware that this gang was a tight community of surfers on a mission. Together the team of surfers, shapers, sanders designers and glassers were beginning to see their hobby was now turning into a serious platform for their surfing and business future.
In 1967 the Brookvale operation had some influential guys producing quality surfboards with Bob Kennerson sanding and guys like Peter Cornish and Ted Spencer shaping. A liitle known fact is that Shane was the inventor of the Ugg Boot and sold the rights off very early in their inception. This business was to become an $800m enterprise for the shoe industry.
Later in 1970, a whole myriad of talent would come and go though the Shane factory. To Shane he loved them all. The standouts were Ted Spencer and Terry Fitzgerald, who subsequently insisted he put on this young kid from Narrabeen. This was his now great friend Simon Anderson. Other great names to come through the factory were Butch and Steve Cooney, Frank Latta, Richard Harvey, Glyn Ritchie, Chris Young, Richard Kavanagh, David Trealor, Josette Legarde and Jack and Gordon Knight. His rich shaping history began in 1963 with Malibu boards ranging in length from 9 to 10’ and in 1968 Shane began to produce Vee Bottom 8’ stringerless boards. As the years passed boards were getting shorter and in 1969 the Shane 7’6” rounded pin preceded the the Shoe Knee board 4’11” rounded pin. This was the same year the Standard Shane 5’5” pop out surfboard was produced and production of this model alone was 200 per week. This model shape is still current today and many surfers are riding this plan shape that Shane introduced back in the late 60’s. Shane’s favorite surfboard design was the Ted Spencer model “White Kite” because it evolved through so many rapid changes.
Shane acknowledged that when he moved to Brookvale he eased up a little on the shaping because he had so much talent there shaping world class boards, but to this day he still loves getting foam dust on him. His boards are still being produced in large numbers and his designs just don’t seem to date.
A lifelong surfer, Shane lives at Mona Vale in Sydney and is the father of Luke Stedman who in his own right is a first class surfer who has represented his country on the world stage of surfing on the WCT. Luke has produced his own clothing fashion brand “In Sted We Smile” and receiving great reviews nationally. Shane’s daughter Bonnie is in England studying naturopathy and is soon to return home and set up a practice on the northern beaches.