FIN TALK with Josh Farberow
Josh Farberow can surf anything, and make it look effortless. He is a true renaissance man, you may know him as a Malibu staple for decades, your favorite surfer's favorite surfer, shaper and fin designer, Ranch boss, artist, or just a really nice dude you met in the parking lot once.
Josh has honed his craft over the better part of the last 3 decades along the cobblestone points, reef and beach breaks from SoCal to the Central Coast and beyond. He worked closely with Scott Anderson to design some of the most functional longboards available. finless sliders, and everything in between.
Josh at Malibu, doing what he does best. Image retrieved from Anderson Surfboards
Over a decade ago Josh began working closely with Chuck Ames to design one of the most widely used longboard fins in surfing, the Farberow Flex. It was Josh's concept to take the California Classic template and add a precision foil to give it flex characteristics that matched his surfing technique. The timeless lines of the California Classic coupled with the improved flex, proved to be a versatile fin that won the hearts and improved the tip time of surfers around the world.
We recently asked Josh to give us some insight into his namesake fin, and updated us on what he's been up to lately. Take a minute to read the interview below and enjoy the custom coastal artwork.
TA: The Faberow Flex has remained one of the most popular longboard fin designs for several years. What makes this design so timeless, and versatile?
JF: The Farberow Flex originally was a hybrid of the California Classic template and the Liddle Flex technology. The overall surface area of the template makes it extremely well balanced. With a fairly wide base and tip, you get substantial hold while noseriding but not so much that it overrides the rail/rocker of the board. The flex provides extra “horsepower” when turning as well. For the fin to really work its magic, the rider must be in tune with the board and conditions.
Farberow Flex in kelp. Image retrieved from Yes Surf Okinawa
TA: What fin design characteristics do you consider when designing a great fin?
JF: All of it! Height, rake, and template most importantly.
Fins are the most overlooked component of surfboard design. But for me, I rely on Mr. Ames to help finely tune those characteristics. Flex is the one thing I really like playing with. The extra “slingshot” potential, especially on long points, is fun to try to harness.
Occasionally, I’ll purposefully overfin a board and work on grinding it down as you ride the board to really dial it in. There is so much to learn from doing your own R&D.
Josh Harnessing the "slingshot effect". Photo by Bill Parr. Retrieved from Surfline, "The Mechanics of Malibu"
TA: For those of us that don't possess your super-human surfing skills, can choosing the correct fin help improve our noseriding, and how?
JF: Maybe a little. In this case, I think it is more about the rocker and rail. The fin needs to be big enough not to “let go”, but the board needs to be right or noseriding is not possible. Start with the right board, add the right fin and put in lots of hours.
When you’re on the nose and fall back on your butt, that is a good sign. That means your equipment is working and your body needs to adjust.
9'8" Scott Anderson Farberow II signature model. Images retrieved from Mollusk Surf Shop
TA: What are you currently fired up on with your shaping and fin design?
JF: I am currently riding all sorts of stuff. Bottom contours into glassed on fins. Deep double concaves into thrusters and v-bottom heavy flex volan single fins! Best part about surfing is it never goes stale if you continue experimenting with equipment.
Original coastal artwork with answers to our interview questions by Josh Farberow.
Josh's creative mind finds ways to impress us in and out of the water. We are truly grateful to work with Josh and look forward to what's to come! Thank you for reading along, hope you enjoyed the 2nd edition of Fin Talks. Cheers!