Greetings, Shredderz! Mike Diffenderfer’s Encyclopedia of Surfing entry describes him as “the Michelangelo of surfboard shapers”, and I don’t know there’s anything more I can add to that description. One day, with a lot of hard work and even more luck, yours truly might be known as the “Michelangelo of low budget surfboard blogs”, but we can cross that bridge when we get there. I am also fascinated by Diffenderfer’s sterling reputation, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to be as famous as his accolades might suggest. For example, my guess is that many surfers would recognize Dick Brewer’s name, but far fewer might know about Mike Diffenderfer. This is despite the fact that Derek Hynd referred to Diff and Brewer as legitimate contenders and rivals for the title of greatest shaper in surf history. For the source of that quote and more on Diffenderfer and Brewer, I recommend this excellent Derek Hynd profile of Dick Brewer written in 1990 for Surfer Magazine.
One thing is not up for debate, though, and that is Diff’s considerable talent as a surfboard shaper. Pictured above is an absolutely stunning 6’8″ Seventies Diffenderfer sting. Unfortunately I don’t have any more dimensions for the board. The photos come courtesy of Adam. You can check out his Instagram here.
The board made its way to Australia, where it currently resides. I wish I had more information about the shape or the history behind it, but this is all I got.
I’ve never seen another Diffenderfer board with this kind of sting outline. You can clearly see the down rails in the photos above, as well as the double set of wings. The set of wings closer to the nose are very distinct, and unlike the wings you would expect to see on a classic Aipa sting. The wings towards the tail are a little more recognizable, but on a classic sting you’d expect to see a swallowtail.
The Diffenderfer sting is reminiscent of a handful of Mark Richards stings I have seen. See below for a board I saw posted to Facebook a while back.
The MR sting pictured above was credited as being influenced by various Dick Brewer designs. I have no way to verify this claim, but Richards famously surfed a lot of boards made by local shapers in Hawaii during the Seventies, including shapes from Aipa, Brewer and various Lightning Bolt boards. It would certainly be ironic if the Diffenderfer sting pictured above was influenced by Brewer, given the fierce rivalry between the two.
If you have any other info on the history of this bitchin’ Diffenderfer sting, definitely let me know. Thanks again to Adam for sharing the pics and hope you enjoyed this writeup of a killer Seventies surfboard from one of the true masters of board building.