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He was ready to retire, but starting a boat business was calling his name

LaMoyne Hyde posing for a picture as he holds a fish. | Courtesy Hyde Drift Boats
IDAHO FALLS — When LaMoyne Hyde was 8 years old and helped build a boat with his dad, he didn’t know he was also laying the groundwork for what would become a successful boat shop years down the road.
Hyde was born and raised in Star Valley, Wyoming. From a young age, water was a big part of his life. Although he is the youngest of four brothers and one sister, that didn’t slow him down from immersing himself in the fishing world that so many generations of his family did before him.
“I’ve been around boats all my life. We fished since I was 3 or 4 years old. (We) fly fished over on the Salt River in Wyoming,” Hyde said. “It was just what we did, so we’d build boats, and we’d build a lot of stuff to help us catch the fish. That was what we liked to do.”
Building boats is only scraping the surface of Hyde’s many talents. At the age of 19, he began building single-prop airplanes for crop dusting with his family.
“Understanding how the design of an airplane affects airflow ultimately helped build the foundation of Hyde Drift Boats’ bottom design,” according to the Hyde Drift Boats website.

Hyde’s first aluminum boat produced. | Courtesy Hyde Drift Boats
Manufacturing and business run thick in his blood. He went from building airplanes to water treatment purification equipment. But one day, he decided he had enough of it and sold the business.
Hyde had made enough money in the water treatment business that he was initially thinking of retiring. He bought a big boat and headed to Alaska to spend his days fishing. But after about a month and a half on the water, the die-hard fisherman had bored himself stiff. He decided to return home.
In 1979, roughly 10 years after he moved to Idaho Falls, he bought his first drift boat.
“I just bought another company’s drift boat and used it for a while. I decided I could improve on it, so I started designing my own,” Hyde said. “Next thing I knew, I was back in business again.”

A boat built by Hyde Drift Boats in Idaho Falls. | Courtesy Hyde Drift Boats
The first production aluminum Hyde Boats were rolled out in the late ’80s, and a few years later, Hyde built the first fiberglass Hyde Drift Boat, according to the company’s website. Hyde also created a line of flat-bottom canoes called the “Hyde Kanoe.” After a few years, the canoe line ended in the mid-2000s so the company could focus more on drift boats, according to the website.
Hyde Drift Boats now has three generations of family that work there and around 20 employees.
“We come to work because we want to, not because we need too,” said Hyde, who owns the company with his wife, J.Ann.
They try to build around 400 boats a year, he said. The boats are made in Idaho Falls and sold around the world.
“We know that we can build so many boats in a year and do a good job on all of them, where if you just try to see how many you can build, usually quality is compromised pretty heavily,” he said.
Over the years, he’s learned many things about boats and running a business. But something that stands out to him most of all is he’s grateful his job is intertwined with his passion.
“In fly fishing, there’s no way you can think of work and fishing at the same time,” Hyde said. “I’m one of the few that can do that because my business is fishing.”

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