Steve Barilotti’s name is not an entry in Matt Warshaw’s The Encyclopedia of Surfing.
This, in my opinion, is a glaring oversight.
For the last 25 years, Steve has traveled the world and written about surfing culture at the highest level. Compared to much of the surf drivel out there, Steve’s stories are diamonds in a rhinestone world.
The real reason we should acknowledge and celebrate Steve Barilotti, though, is for the intangibles:
—His shit-eating smirk, especially when inappropriate.
—His Freak Brother, Keep On Truckin’ gait.
—His ability to take on surf journalism’s toughest assignments and remain alive.
—His fear-reducing Mr. Magoo eyesight in bigger surf.
—His uncanny ability to rock puka shell necklaces.
—His method journalism techniques when studying pro surfer party habits.
—His willingness to embrace cultural rites—and dead fish—simultaneously.
—His postulation that absinthe should only be consumed while wearing a silk kimono.
—His undying love for The Simpsons.
Mention Steve Barilotti’s name to a professional surfer that has traveled with him, and you’ll get a universal response, “Barlo? Oh my god, that guy’s classic. How’s he doing?”
Unlike some other writers, Steve Barilotti leaves a warm afterglow in his wake, and for good reason. He may have never been a professional surfer, but he can write his way around a wave with Curren-like ability, and adds a positive, unexpected dimension to any surf journey.
So the next time you’re on a surf trip and tilting a few at the end of the day, make a silent toast to Steve Barilotti.
And then write a drunk, angry letter to Matt Warshaw.