Members of the Nambucca Heads Fire and Rescue crew had a very early start to Fathers Day when they were called to Wellington Drive just as day broke.
Early morning walkers noticed smoke coming from a vertical support pylon on the boardwalk nearest the Marine Rescue headquarters and called it in.
Captain Rob Couchman said, owing to the damage, he couldn't be sure if the fire was deliberate or carelessly lit by a discarded cigarette, for example.
But he said the post was likely to have been smouldering all night long.
Because of the damage, that section of boardwalk has now been closed until it can be repaired.