Fain, Johnny


Fast-talking, whip-turning regularfooter from Malibu, California; described by the Surfer's Journal magazine as "one of the four aces of Malibu"—along with Mickey Dora, Lance Carson, and Dewey Weber—during the late '50s and early '60s.

Fain was born (1943) to a wealthy Hollywood family, grew up among producers, directors, and film stars in the Malibu Colony, just north of Malibu Pier, and began surfing at age 13. Just three years later, the small (5' 5") but muscular Fair had developed into an agile, quick, flamboyant surfer—a near replica of Weber. He loved to please the Malibu beach crowds, and an early '60s black-and-white photo shows him pressed up into a handstand while angling his board across a glassy three-foot wall.

A media-amplified feud between Fain and Dora began in the summer of 1965, as the two surfers pushed and shoved one another during the finals of the annual Malibu Invitational; Fain placed second in the event, Dora third. Unlike most of his Malibu contemporaries, Fain made the transition to the short surfboard in 1968, and the Fain Formula model, produced by Greg Noll Surfboards, sold moderately well in the late '60s.

Fain competed in the 1965 and 1968 World Championships, and appeared in surf movies throughout the '60s, including Gun Ho! (1963), Strictly Hot (1964), and Golden Breed (1968). Blond and boyishly handsome, he also worked as a stunt double and extra in Gidget (1959), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), and other Hollywood beach movies, and had a small speaking part in Big Wednesday (1978).