Obituary: Johnny Fain

Photo courtesy.

One of Malibu’s golden-era legends of surfing, Johnny Fain, rode his last wave on March 6, 2022. Johnny grew up in the Malibu colony in the late 40′ early 50s, where he cemented his name as one of the all-time surfing legends.

Johnny was a true icon in the surfing world, winning numerous big surf contests to riding some of the biggest waves without the help of a tow-in. He started making boogie boards out of wood before he was a teenager, only to later make his own surfboard line. He was instrumental in launching the surfing industry out of the longboard era, where he excelled at bringing the shortboard era to life.

His mother, Jeanne Bartlett, was a professional writer in the film industry, writing screenplays such as the Son of Lassie. His father was killed in an accident near the Malibu Pier when John was very young. Johnny had the looks of a Hollywood star and followed his mother into the film industry. He was in a number of Beach Party movies in the ’60s, including Big Wednesday and several parts in many TV series.

Johnny had a love of the ocean. Whether it be surfing, sport fishing, or diving, he was never far away from the water, except to maybe play some tennis, where he also excelled. Johnny had his own surfboard model when he rode for Greg Noll surfboards, Fain Formula II, and another Johnny Fain Model when he surfed for Becker Surfboards in the 90s.

His passion, drive, and smile will be missed by the surfing industry and in the lineup. RIP to a true legend.

A paddle out will be held, date and time TBA.