Lanky quick-witted surf journalist from San Diego, California; Surfer magazine editor from 1990 to 1998, and a Contributing Editor since 2004. Hawk was born (1955) in Pensacola, Florida, raised in San Diego, and began surfing at age 14. Not long after earning a B.A. in English from U.C. Santa Barbara, Hawk took the first of a series of newspaper reporter jobs in north San Diego County, leading to full-time work with the Orange County Register from 1984 to 1990. He had also been submitting freelance articles to both Surfer and Surfing magazines, and in 1990 was hired as Surfer's editor.
Hawk was perhaps best known for his warm and often self-effacing monthly "Intro" column, where he used personal experience as a gateway into a more general surf world topic. A description in 1997 of how he scraped his forehead on a rock at his local surf break—"It didn't hurt too much, but for once in my life I looked kind of gnarly"—became an essay on how surfers generally injure themselves in small waves, not big ones. Not convinced by his own logic, Hawk finishes by saying that before his next venture out into big surf, he intends to "find a piece of driftwood and knock on it till my knuckles bleed."
Hawk moved on to become the editorial director of Surfline/Swell.com, from 1999 to 2001, then helped start the Tony Hawk Foundation, a charitable group co-founded by Steve's younger brother and skateboard icon, Tony Hawk. He also had a stint as the Executive Editor of the Action Sports Group, helped write the surf-themed HBO show John From Cincinnati (2007), and since 2009 has been the Executive Editor of Sierra, the Sierra Club's bi-monthly magazine.
In 2000, after a surf venture to Antarctica, Hawk became one of the few people on earth to have ridden waves on every continent.
Hawk has written surf-related freelance articles for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Outside, and Harper's. He is the author of Waves (2005), and helped ghostwrite Tony Hawk's How Did I Get Here: The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO (2005). Hawk won a 2012 Maggie Award for "The Cost of Coal," a Sierra magazine exposé into the coal industry.