Derik Hyatt

Derik Hyatt Co-FOunder & CEO of Freshwater Surf Goods
Entrepreneur / Surf & SUP Instructor / Yoga Teacher / Podcast Host

Growing up in the 80's and 90's on the north shore of Lake Erie, in Canada's tomato capital and southernmost town of Leamington, Ontario (a 68 km ferry ride from Sandusky, Ohio and a 54 km drive to Detroit, Michigan) Derik Hyatt got bit by the stoke (the surfer's high) at a young age.  With a Great Lake as his playground, the defining moment happened one sunny and unsuspecting summer afternoon at the beach.  While playing between two steel break walls on a steep beach face close to shore, with his back turned to the waves, a large curl unexpectedly engulfed his small body, dragged him backwards and underwater, before it turned him upside down and thrust him upon the sandy bottom, followed only to be struck by a multitude of stone projectiles.  Rather than cry or become fearful of the inland sea, he was in awe of its power and creativity.  This marked the beginning of his fascination and relationship with water.  From that point on, when asked by his overprotective mother where he was going during severe wind storms, he would always reply, "to a friend's house" as he jetted off to the lake to go body surfing. 

Around the turn of the new millennium, while struggling to windsurf for the first time amidst some choppy waves near the Leamington Dock; a messenger of God appeared surfing towards him atop a longboard.  "Young man, you must remove that sail, paddle out and try surfing instead," said local Pastor, Mark Collins.  After several failed attempts, two pockets full of seaweed and raw nipples from chafing with the gritty surface of the windsurfing board, Derik caught his first wave with a shaka sign in each hand and rode it to shore being transformed and forever stoked!

Living with the nickname, "Hardcore", since high school - earned through his addictive personality and tendency for overindulgence and partying, even inciting the common tagline used by peers "It's not a party, unless Hardcore has Bacardi" - Derik's hardcore efforts quickly shifted to surfing.  As a young Canadian misfit with no interest in hockey and team sports, surfing gave him purpose and sense of identity among the estimated group of around only 500 Great Lakes surfers at the time, according to P.L. Strazz's 2004 book titled "Surfing The Great Lakes."  He purchased his first used longboard from legendary Great Lakes surfer, shaper and inventor Dean Williams of Up North Surfboards in Michigan.  Surfing whenever he could and listening to the music of his favourite artist's Sublime and Jack Johnson, he was living the SoCal lifestyle; until he broke his board in half while attempting to wake board behind a friend's motorboat.  To end his mourning, after six cold, dark months of working as a mail deliverer in the arctic town of Iqaluit, Nunavut, he used his savings to procure a 10’ custom board from Sitka Surfboards that was modeled after Robert August's board in "The Endless Summer" and featured the art of Drew Brophy.  He even launched a website dedicated to Lake Erie surfing at the now defunct

Featured in a 2005 Windsor Star article titled, "Waverunner", Derik was quoted saying, "It's not that we don't want to surf the ocean, it's the fact that we don't have an ocean.  And why do we deserve not to surf when we love it so much?"

In 2008, this passion led Derik to pack his surfboard and say farewell to the Great Lakes, as he moved out west to Vancouver, British Columbia to have readier access to the Pacific Ocean.  He has since surfed in many different locations including Nova Scotia, Washington, Oregon, Oahu, Florida, California and most frequently, Tofino, BC.  Tofino has become his favourite surf spot and retreat from city life into the wild and end of the road culture.

After a knee injury in 2016, Derik was seeking a low impact activity for when out of the surf.  Despite an initial bias view of SUP, by 2018 he was stoked all over again, stand up paddleboarding nearly everyday, earning his certification with Paddle Canada as an Advanced SUP Instructor before upgrading in 2019 to a Level 1 SUP Surf Instructor.  Although not as frenetic as surfing, he finds great peace and solace while paddling.  Be sure to sign up online for stand up paddleboard yoga, lessons and/or tours with Derik to enhance your skills in a fun and relaxed learning environment.  As a yogi and Ho'oponopono Practitioner, he believes in the healing properties of water and that being out to sea can be a channel to discovering your higher self and clearing your subconscious.

With the increasing costs of west coast living and a desire to be closer to family and start their own, the Great Lakes began calling!  In 2018, in an effort to begin their homeward journey back to the nation's fourth seacoast, Derik and his wife, Erin Shanks, founded Freshwater Surf Goods, a Great Lakes inspired surf lifestyle brand devoted to spreading the stoke and cultivating the surf community by providing products that celebrate unsalted surf culture fostering pride among its tribe.  Now living in the Grey-Bruce area of Southwestern Ontario, they continue working diligently to create cool threads for both Great lakes and Canadian surfers and enthusiasts.

In 2020, Derik launched the interview style podcast, Permastoked, as an opportunity to promote the brand and build community with other surfers, stand up paddleboarders, yogis and more from across the Great Lakes, Canada, the US and beyond.  Permastoked was even featured in the Lifestyle section of Rrampt. Magazine's Winter/Spring 2021 Edition in an article titled "Permastoked: Derik Hyatt's Search for the Ultimate Canadian Wave."  The podcast is available streaming across multiple platforms, including Apple Podcasts and YouTube.

Looking for bliss outside of the water?  Join Derik for Yoga and Meditation to uplift and release your primal self to better ride the waves of life!  Great Vibes Yoga, Meditation & Healing harnesses the Spirit of Aloha and a chill atmosphere while delivering sacred teachings and ancient technology with both humour and integrity.  Align your shakas through movement, mantra, meditation and breath.  All are welcome, no matter what age, experience or level of fitness.

Outside of his commitments, Derik is devoted to his family, including his Norwich Terrier, Mahalo (meaning thank you in Hawaiian), the spiritual path, the environment, causes, the occasional stand up comedy or drumming gig and becoming the ultimate waterman!  As an avid swimmer, in 2019 he completed his Bronze Cross certification with the Lifesaving Society and is next planning to pursue diving courses with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).  Being pescatarian, he also enjoys fishing, and views the sea as both his playground and food source, but more so, as a powerful living entity deserving much reverence. 

For more information regarding Derik and what he's up to, visit  Mahalo!


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