The purpose of this article is to report a new method for the surface functionalization of commercially available gas diffusion layers (GDLs) by the electrochemical reduction of diazonium salt containing hydrophobic functional groups. The method results in superhydrophobic GDLs, over a large area, without pore blocking. An X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy study based on core level spectra and chemical mapping has demonstrated the successful grafting route, resulting in a homogeneous distribution of the covalently bonded hydrophobic molecules on the surface of the GDL fibers. The result was corroborated by contact angle measurement, showing similar hydrophobicity between the grafted and PTFE-modified GDLs. The electrochemically modified GDLs were tested in proton exchange membrane fuel cells under automotive, wet, and dry conditions and demonstrated improved performance over traditional GDLs.