Barilotti, Steve


Inquisitive, eco-conscious surf journalist and editor from southern California; Surfer magazine editor-at-large since 2001. Barilotti was born (1955) in Oxnard, California, and moved with his family to inland Los Angeles County at age three. Though he bodysurfed and rode surf mats as a child, Barilotti didn’t begin standup surfing until age 18, after he'd moved to Santa Barbara following high school.

In 1988, Barilotti took a BA in journalism at San Diego State University; he'd already started freelancing articles to Surfer and Tracks, among other magazines. Surfer hired Barilotti as an associate editor in 1989, and for the better part of the next two decades he was the magazine's travel-hungry contributing editor, visiting places like South Africa's Diamond Coast, the Spice Islands, and the bone-chilling and occasionally perfect pointbreaks of Newfoundland.

Barilotti also took an early interest in the impacts of surf tourism on local cultures, with articles in the Surfer’s Journal and Surfer covering how Bali had changed in the wake of its discovery by the surf world, and how groups like Surf Aid International have sought to use surf tourism dollars to improve the lives of Mentawai islanders. Similarly, Barilotti wrote the screenplay for the 2004 Emmy-award winning documentary Kokua, which called attention to environmental degradation in Hawaii, and Minds in the Water, a 2011 documentary chronicling pro surfer Dave Rastovich's international crusade to protect dolphins.

Barilotti edited the well-received Leroy Grannis: Birth of a Culture: ‘60s and ‘70s Surf Photography (2007). His work has also been featured in a handful of surf-writing anthologies, including The Perfect Day: 40 Years of Surfer Magazine (2001), Surfing’s Greatest Misadventures: Dropping in on the Unexpected (2006), The Best of Surfer Magazine (2007), Pacific Passages: An Anthology of Surf Writing (2008), and Surfer Magazine: 50 Years (2010).

In 2012, Barilotti raised $26,200 on Kickstarter to make a feature-length documentary on artist and one-time Surfer cartoonist Rick Griffin.