I love collecting boards. They are, at the very least, an art form that represents the passions and creativity of surfers over many decades. The best vintage surfboards have the best stories, and this one’s a beaut. It is a real favorite in the SDA surfboard collection.
This hollow, wood beauty was shaped in the early 60’s by Mike Diffenderfer, from pew wood he and a couple of his buddies “borrowed” from an abandoned church in Encinitas, CA. He actually shaped two of these boards. The story has it that the other one lies on the ocean floor below Swammies. I guess nobody wanted to paddle out on this board after the failure of it’s counterpart.
Diffenderfer grew up in La Jolla, CA and started surfing at 12 years old. He moved to Hawaii after high school and quickly became known for his shaping talent. Especially well known for shaping “big wave guns”, Diffenderfer is said to have studied engineering and airplane stats and applied the technology to his boards. That might explain the arced indents near the tail of this board.
Diffenderfer is also credited with naming Oahu’s famed surf spot “Pipeline”. The Encyclopedia of Surfing estimates that Mike shaped some 25,000 boards in his shaping career. Known for being an influencer in the surf world, Mike’s big wave guns are still highly coveted by collectors.
Mike Diffenderfer passed away in 2002 of a brain tumor, and with him passed another legend of Surfing’s rich history. SDA is honored to own this small sample of Mike’s amazing shaping talent. Mike would probably want us to take it off the wall and give it a go…..hmmm, maybe it’s time for a paddle out at Swammies .