Ask someone who’s a surfer, and they’ll likely say it’s a sport like no other. They are water warriors who challenge themselves and the ocean, attempting to tame the next big wave. Dr. Derek Levy ’83 has possessed surfing’s competitive fire for most of his life. It could be said that the water fueled his internal flame, if only in the figurative sense. And after more than four decades on the water, it still burns brightly within, a reminder that he is a part of the ocean, just as the ocean is part of him.
Levy began his love affair with surfing as a child growing up in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Having the ocean so close soon made surfing a dominant force in his life. He bypassed the more mainstream sports like football and baseball, opting instead to stay in the water. He surfed competitively for many years, along with doing “anything the ocean had to offer,” including long distance swimming and paddling, diving and bodysurfing.
It was a surfing injury in his youth that first exposed him to chiropractic. He was already leaning toward a career in a health care field, when a positive experience with a chiropractor solidified his career path. The results he received continue to impact the care he provides others at his practice, Hermosa Chiropractic.
“I personally had good results when I needed chiropractic care as a teenager,” Levy said. “This memory alone has been a great influence on me throughout my career and has kept me compassionate with my patients throughout the years.”
And although his patient base is diverse, he continues to have a particularly strong following among those in the surfing community.
“It’s huge!” Levy said. “Surfing causes neck, mid-back and low back problems. I have multiple patients who surf, and like other athletes, they respond favorably to chiropractic care.
While the body is a resilient machine, it still needs assistance at times to achieve optimum performance. Regardless of occupation or level of activity, relief from some injuries is not always permanent, even for a chiropractor. In Levy’s case, it only solidifies the love he has for the profession.
“Interestingly enough, I still occasionally have low back pain flair-ups, which respond great with chiropractic adjustments,” Levy said. “These episodes always remind me of how great chiropractic is and how lucky I am to be able to offer this incredibly effective help to people in need.”
When preparing for his education, Levy chose Cleveland because it was close to home, but also because it just felt right.
“When I visited Cleveland-LA, the people seemed genuine and friendly,” Levy said. “I did not get the same vibe from the folks at Los Angeles Chiropractic College. LACC also seemed more medically oriented which also turned me off.”
Levy went on to complete his education and now, more than three decades later, he still loves what he does. And apparently, those around his Hermosa Beach practice do too, as he has been named “Best Chiropractor in the South Bay” by Easy Reader, several times over the years.
“After practicing for 30 years, my patient base is fairly large,” Levy said. “That coupled with growing up here in Hermosa certainly has helped me to be voted ‘The Best Chiropractor.’ Funny though, chiropractic has made me the best I can be, not the other way around. Because of chiropractic, people in my community have better health and better lives. I’m lucky to be able to offer this to them through chiropractic.”
And Levy is well known in his community not only for the care he provides, but also for giving back. He has served in various organizations related to the ocean and has volunteered his time at numerous events over the years. His efforts were recognized this year, as he was inducted into the Hermosa Beach Surfer’s Walk of Fame. Through a system of nomination and voting, the award recognizes those who have excelled in the ocean.
Modesty rules when Levy references the award, saying that somehow he “slipped through the cracks and got inducted.” While he has enjoyed a level of success on the water, his contributions off the water were also taken into consideration. His overall commitment to surfing made him worthy of this accolade.
“Being inducted… is a pretty big deal and I am somewhat humbled to be included in such an august group of previous inductees,” Levy said. “It’s surreal as well. Some of my childhood heroes have yet to be inducted, so I also feel a bit strange being inducted prior to them.”
While he is devoted to his practice, he does find time for other things that he enjoys. Obviously, he continues to surf, saying, “I still crave the pleasure I get from it.” But there is also a burgeoning musical career that has him performing in a band called the Bixby Dicks. Live music is a new endeavor for him, and although he enjoys it immensely, he admits that his skills are still a work in progress.
“Because of my lack of ability, I’ve surrounded myself with really talented musicians so I can hide behind them when we perform out in public,” Levy said.
With chiropractic, surfing and music combined with his love of family and friends, Levy is a busy man. All are very important to him, as they enrich him in different ways. Life is never perfect, but when asked if he was living the American dream, Levy had nothing negative to report.
“You gotta keep reaching,” Levy said. “Keep challenging yourself. Keep reinventing yourself. Keep it fun! I am so lucky and blessed to live the life I do. I have a great family, incredible friends, I’m healthy and still surf constantly, and have a job that I love and have fun doing. I’m not sure if it’s the American dream, but I’m sure living a dream life.”
Visit www.drdereklevy.com to contact Dr. Levy or to learn more about Hermosa Chiropractic.