HAVING SURFED for more than six decades, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that David Wyatt’s love for the sport carried over to his son, Mathew, whose love for it has become a family passion turned into a business.
“He picked it up on his,” said David Wyatt. “I’d take him and his brother to Galveston after school. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your family. It’s a blessing.”
A Texas City native, Mathew Wyatt has run Rise Surf since launching it as a teenager. Over the past 15 years, Wyatt has expanded it and now offers an array of products under the Rise Surf logo.
“We’ve just been slowly but surely starting to produce more and more things,” he said. “We started out only making T-shirts, but now we’ve started to make our own surfboards in-house along with distributing and manufacturing surfboards and skateboards.”
Wyatt began surfing the Galveston Jettys at age 12 and, in his words, “has never wanted to quit.” He brought his first surfboard shortly after his initial experience and continued to improve on his skills despite the expected bumps and bruises that came with learning the craft.
Surfing is just a short walk away from home for Wyatt, who enjoys the lifestyle that comes with being a Texas-bred surfer.
“I feel like Texas surfing culture has a culture of its own,” said Wyatt. “Although it resembles other surfing cultures, I think it stands out. What makes it different is how big our coast is and how much we travel. We don’t just stay in Texas.”
Wyatt has surfed in Mexico and in Hawaii, where the experience was “a game changer. Once you get into the groove of it, it’s a lot of fun.”
Rise Surf is true to its word when supporting Texas surfing culture. Featured prominently in the shop are a number of photos from area photographer Chris Giotis and art work from Sophia Buddenhagen.
The shop has also provided surfers with the opportunity to build their own surfboards. Surfers can either hand shape their board or modify a blank surfboard. Wyatt does the challenging part of finishing the designing.
When he’s not out on the surf, Wyatt is at work as a member of the Texas City Fire Department, where he has been for nearly 12 years. Because of his demanding work schedule, Wyatt does not have set hours for Rise Surf, instead encouraging potential customers to visit the website (risesurf.com) or calling (409-789-3602) to set an appointment.
Orders for Rise Surf gear has gone international, as shoppers from as far as Germany and the United Kingdom have gone online to order products.
The love of surfing has carried to his wife, Beth. The two have known each other since attending Texas City High School.
“I’ve tried several times, unsuccessfully,” she said. “It’s hard to pick up. I’m not a natural, but I do enjoy it.”
“It’s invaluable to have Beth as a part of this,” added Wyatt. “She gives me the freedom to do this. Without her support, it would be impossible.”