"Diff was such a character, & such a good friend."
- Art Brewer
“I always loved the act of surfing and shooting it, but I was really drawn to the surfers as people,” says photographer Art Brewer. “The magazines never really delved into the personalities, they delved into the surfers surfing. For me it was sort of like peeling away the onion.”
Brewer was 17 when he shot his first Surfer magazine cover in 1968. That sent him on an odyssey of wild waves, exotic locales, and eccentric characters. “I had an inside window into it,” he says. “I did a really influential trip in ’75 with Bunker [Spreckels]. I learned what I wanted, and what I didn’t want to do in life.”
In part two of “Six Decades of Art Brewer,” we get Maui in the early ‘70s. Think Vietnam, Evel Knievel, Led Zeppelin. Think Shortboard Revolution and the marvel of going up/down, up /down on the wave face.
“This is Mike Diffenderfer out on the back porch at the Pioneer Inn, overlooking Front Street, in ‘71. It’s sunrise, we’d just gotten up. I happened to share a room with him there after being out at Honolua Bay shooting and surfing the day before. Diff was such a character, and such a good friend. We became roommates for a good year and a half. He went from someone who really wouldn’t give me the time of day to being one of my good buddies. A trusted friend. His ethics, where he came from, what he was doing—he was just an amazing influence on my life.”
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---Jamie Brisick is a writer, photographer, and director. He surfed on the ASP world tour from 1986 to 1991. He has since documented surf culture extensively. His books include Becoming Westerly: Surf Champion Peter Drouyn’s Transformation into Westerly Windina, Roman & Williams: Things We Made, We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations, Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow, and The Eighties at Echo Beach. His writings and photographs have appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He was the editor of Surfing magazine from 1998-2000, and is presently the global editor of Huck. In 2008 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. He lives in Los Angeles. For more of his work check out jamiebrisick.com & @jamiebrisick