Stab Magazine | Australian Surfing Has Lost A True Original

Australian Surfing Has Lost A True Original

Rest in Power, Wayne Deane.

news // Jul 28, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It is with tremendous sadness that we bring news that Australian Surfing Hall of Fame inductee, Wayne Deane has died at the age of 66. 

While younger generations will be more familiar with his son, Noa, Wayne’s massive presence in Australian surfing began in the 1960s, as one of the era’s most dominating forces at Queensland’s sandpoints. 

Deane was born 1952, in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, and took up surfing with a vengeance in 1960.

“I started to learn to surf in 1960 and at that point there was a lot of sand in Coolangatta, so Kirra was kind of like it is now,” Wayne told Tracks in 2015. “We were still riding mals at that point, there were no leggies, and we’d still go out there and ride those waves and learn to barrel ride… As boards progressed especially during that late part of the sixties from ’67 to ’70 we went from nine foot boards down to five foot twin fins, so that was a pretty crazy period. You can imagine being 15 riding a nine foot mal at Kirra and three years later riding a 24-inch-wide x 5-foot x 18-inch-wide-tail twin fin.

Paul and Rick Neilsen, Brian Austen, Wally Hill and Wayne Deane, Bells, 1970. Photo courtesy Wayne Deane Surfboards

According to Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, “by the end of the decade [Deane] was a pace-setter at Kirra, the long, hollow, sand-bottom point wave… he was also an informal mentor to 1978 world champion and fellow Queenslander Wayne Bartholomew.”

In the ’90s, Wayne would go on to win three consecutive Australian longboard championships, in 1994, ’95, and ’96, as well as the longboard division of the 1990 World Amateur Surfing Championships. He enjoyed a starring role in Chris Bystrom’s iconic Longboarding Is Not A Crime.


Having made a name for himself as a shaper in the 1970s, Deane’s boards are some of the most sought after and collected from the era. For more than forty years, Deane continued to build hand-shaped surfboards, balancing a career as a carpenter with the cottage pursuit until going all in building boards in the 1990s. 

“Even to this day, I’m 61 and I still get a fucking buzz out of making a board,” Wayne told Tracks. “It doesn’t matter who it’s for or making my own board, it’s an amazing thing to buy a blank, mark it out, know the measurements and thicknesses that you need to make that board go how you want it to go. To be able to learn all that just by teaching yourself what volumes work and what widths work in certain waves is pretty amazing. I still shape all my boards by hand.”

For the last few months, there were rumours that Wayne was quietly fighting stomach cancer. Earlier this month, Stab feared the worst when Noa announced he’d have to miss the premieres for his new profile film, “Head Noise,” so he could spend time with family, though today’s news of Wayne’s death still comes as a shock.

Our thoughts and positivity go out to Noa and the Deane family during this difficult time.

Rest in Power, Wayne Deane. 


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