Johnny Fain

Malibu, California, 1997

I didn’t pay attention to what was going on with Gidget and Moondoggie and the rest. I didn’t know who was waffling who in the shack. I was too busy learning how to surf.

“Johnny Fain of Malibu,” by Denny Aaberg, ran in the Spring 1998 issue of Surfer’s Journal. All quotes featured here are from that article. 

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My family moved to the Malibu Colony in 1944, the year after I was born. It was still wild. I remember armed gauchos on horseback, patrolling the beaches, keeping people away from the Rindge Estate on the point. Every day I would walk a mile to school—from the Colony to Webster Elementary, up on the hill. There were flocks of blue her...