Diffenderfer, Mike

Good-natured surfboard builder from La Jolla, California, once described as the "Michelangelo of shapers"; best known in the 1960s and '70s for his exquisitely crafted big-wave guns.

Diffenderfer was born (1937) in Beverly Hills, California, raised in La Jolla, began surfing in 1949, and two years later shaped his first surfboard, out of balsa. In 1955, after graduating from high school—where he played for the golf and football teams, and dated classmate Raquel Welch—Diffenderfer made the fi...