Like many other talented skateboarders Steve Ortega grew up in Vista California. Steve skated with ease and a technical style that helped push modern street skating into a new era, with moves like Tre-flips and kickflip tail, slides to name a few.
He was added as a new addition to the H-Street team in the Spring of 1987 after a skate trip down to the TJ skate park.
After a year of skating for H-Street, Mike Ternansky gave Steve the opportunity to turn professional in January 1988. During a skate demo in El Paso Texas, a young skater handed Steve a drawing of a cartoonish figure. The art depicted Steve with a Jalapeno pepper lodged in a vibrant smile.